Indian deposits in Swiss banks decreased by 80%: Goyal

Deposits by Indians in Swiss banks have decreased by over 35% in 2017 rather than increasing by 50% as reported by a section of media, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said Tuesday. Quoting Swiss officials, Goyal said Indian media reports have not interpreted Swiss Bank account details in a correct way.  PTI file photo

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal Tuesday sought to puncture Congress' claim that deposits by Indians in Swiss Bank have grown by 50% and said they have actually fallen by close to 35% last year and by over 80% since NDA government came to power in 2014.

Goyal said when he sought information from Swiss authorities after allegations by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders that deposits by Indian have increased by 50%, Swiss Ambassador to India Andreas Baum wrote to him that the figures were “misinterpreted and incorrectly analysed”.

Goyal said this while talking to media persons on the issue. Earlier replying to questions on the same in the Rajya Sabha, he quoted Baum as saying, “the figures published by the Swiss National Bank are regularly mentioned in the Indian media as a reliable indicator of the amount of assets held with Swiss financial institutions in respect of Indian residents. More often than not, the media reports have not taken account of the way the figures have to be interpreted, which has resulted in misleading headlines and analyses. Moreover, it is frequently assumed that any assets held by Indian residents in Switzerland are undeclared (so-called ‘Black Money’)”.

He said the Swiss data also included non-deposit liabilities, the business of Swiss branches in India, interbank transactions, fiduciary liability, which were not analysed properly.

Goyal said according to Baum the right data to identify Indian residents’ deposits in Switzerland is published by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) which collects Locational Banking Statistics (LBS) in collaboration with Swiss National Bank,” Goyal quoted Swiss Ambassador Andreas Baum saying as such in a letter.

LBS measures international banking activity from a residence perspective, focusing on the location of banking office. It captures around 95% of all cross-border banking activity.

Data from BIS shows non-bank loans and deposits (which constitute the individual and corporate deposits used as black money haven in the past and exclude inter bank transactions) have fallen by 34.5% or $524 million in 2017 compared to $800 million 2016.

Swiss non-bank loans and deposits have reduced by a significant 80.2% under NDA government between 2013 and 2017, Goyal said in the House.

India also signed an agreement with Switzerland on 21st December, 2017. Both countries started collecting data in accordance with global standards on January 1st 2018, and would start the exchange of data from September 2019 on a yearly basis, he said.

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Indian deposits in Swiss banks decreased by 80%: Goyal

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