Zurich: If Mumbai's Zaveri Bazaar is full of jewellery shops and Delhi's Chandni Chowk has got hundreds of saree merchants vying for customers' attention, Zurich has got a street full of Swiss banks -- known for their secrecy veils.
   
As the black money allegedly stashed away by Indians in these Swiss banks continues to generate controversies, the city of bankers lives up to its reputation with both sides of its so-called bank street dotted with numerous bank offices and branches.
   
But unlike the congested Indian markets, the street here is full of modern and sophisticated glass buildings, considered as favourites of those who want to pack off their millions away without getting taxed.
   
The banks, known for their high-level secrecy, are said to have been used since long by businessmen and politicians across the world to park their money, sans any scrutiny by tax authorities of their respective countries.
   
From small to really big ones, Zurich offers banks for everyone's need and they mostly owe their tag of being famous to the two words - security and privacy.
   
Switzerland is considered to have one of the highest levels of banking secrecy in the world. Banks within the country are legally bound to keep any and all information about their customers purely private, unless there are proofs of criminality on the part of their customers.
   
No federal government or even agency may actually access the accounts in normal circumstances and one of the favourites of the Swiss accounts seems to be the Numbered Bank Account, in which an account holder is just known by just few numerical digits. Besides, there are also high-security lockers on offer.
   
But the tide seems to be reversing now. The governments across the globe are in talks with Switzerland to get their hands on account holders' details.
   
India too has recently signed the amending protocol to the Double Taxation (Avoidance) Agreement (DTAA) with Switzerland.
   
Though the agreement was signed earlier, in Switzerland, after it is introduced in Parliament, it has to wait for 100 days before it comes up as a ratified document.

Thereafter there will be exchange of letter between Switzerland and India. The 100-day limit will expire on October six.
   
On Monday, India signed a MoU on Financial Dialogue with Switzerland that aims to pave the way for greater cooperation between the countries’ tax authorities.
   
But the show goes on in Zurich, which is not just about banking.
   
The city remains buzzing with activities till the wee hours, although most parts of the country go to sleep early.
   
"It is because during the day everyone is interested in making money but in the night, everyone wants to socialise, have a drink and make more contacts," said Martin, a limousine driver here.
   
Besides, it has long been a preferred place for shooting of Bollywood movies and is also a fine centre of shopping and dining.
   
A large shopping street offers you the best of the designer wear that money can buy. A number of restaurants including fine dining are also here.
   
But to enjoy the real city, one has to drive to the old Zurich to get a taste of excellent outside dinning. The city streets are like a showroom of the latest and the most beautiful cars.
   
"Zurich is the city in Switzerland where everyone is in hurry, they mean business, they work hard for the dream of making more money," Martin said.

(Agencies)