Swiss contradict CBI on black money

Swiss contradict CBI on black money

The Swiss emb­a­ssy here on Thursday sought to contradict the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) recent claim that as much as $500 billion of black money remain stashed away in banks in Switzerland, asserting that the figure lacked evidence and was “uncorroborated.”

Dismissing CBI Director A P Singh’s declaration Tuesday while inaugurating a semin­ar that Indians’ hidden wealth in Swiss bank acocunts was to the extent of $500 billion (Rs 24.5 la­kh crore), a Swiss embassy st­atement said, “there have been several speculations ab­out the amount of wealth held by Indians in Swiss Banks. Such estimates and statistics lack evi­d­ence and are uncorroborated.”

The statement, seen as unusual as the embassy has hardly reacted to the black money debate so far, did not name any individual or organisation or the amount involved.

Reacting to the Swiss assertion, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said the CBI chief’s statement was based on the report of the Su­p­reme Court-appointed committee on the vexed and contr­o­versial issue of black money th­at several Indian nationals ha­ve stashed away in banks abroad, especially in Switzerland.

“I have spoken to the CBI director and he told me that he made the statement on the bas­is of a report prepared by that committee,” Narayanasamy added.

Without indicating the so­urce of the estimate of the illeg­al Indian money abroad, the CBI director had said India, in particular, had suffered from the flow of illegal funds to tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and British Virgin islands.

The two-page press release fr­om the embassy also said that the “Swiss government has been forthcoming in its co-ope­r­­ation with all foreign governments in cases of tax evasion as well as cases of tax fraud, th­at have been presented within the framework of bilateral tr­e­a­ties.”

The second part of the Swiss embassy’s press release–on “cooperation with all foreign governments”–appears to be in response to a recent statement by Narayanasamy foreign governments were not cooperating with India in getting vast amounts of black money hidden in overseas banks.

The release also said a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Switzerland provides the legal framework within which administrative assistance can be sought in particular cases of tax evasion or tax fraud.

The agreement allows the ex­change of information between the two countries on tax fraud as well as on tax evasion cases. “The Swiss government has conceded to administrative assistance also in cases of tax evasion. This is completely in li­ne with the current international standard,” the embassy said.

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