India yet to send request for secret bank data: Swiss Ambassador

Chennai, Oct 27 (IANS) The Switzerland government has not received any request from the Indian government for sharing the names of tax evaders who have stashed away their illicit money in Swiss banks, the Swiss Ambassador to India Philippe Weiti said Wednesday.

‘It is for India to decide which cases they want to file requests for under the revised treaty,’ said Weiti, who was here to participate in a investment promotion event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

India and Switzerland signed in August this year the amended Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty, which will help the government seek details about the ill-gotten money allegedly stashed away by Indians in Swiss banks.

‘Our government has to ratify the amended treaty. It is just a formality. The Indian government has informed us that the treaty has been ratified by it,’ Weiti told reporters.

A large number of Indians are alleged to have assets worth billions of dollars in banks in Switzerland. And the issue of Indians having secret Swiss bank accounts was a poll plank during last year’s general elections.

About the increasing trade ties between the two countries, Weiti said Indian companies could partner with small and medium Swiss enterprises, which are finding it difficult to find successors to run the businesses.

Citing the 66 percent stake purchased by Hindustan Construction Company in Swiss infrastructure planning company Karl Steiner AG, he said: ‘That is the trend we see now. Ninety percent of the Swiss economy consists of SMEs.’

Earlier addressing the gathering, he said Switzerland provides access to overseas companies to the huge European markets. ‘It is better to go global via Switzerland.’

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