Black money: Switzerland agrees to act as Jaitly offers evidence

Switzerland has assured India of full cooperation on tax information exchange and has agreed to discuss the issue of black money stashed in Swiss banks, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Swiss finance minister Eveline Widmer-SchlumpfHe said India is in possession of the independent evidence of Indians having black money in Swiss accounts and Switzerland has now agreed to expedite the sharing of information in this regard.

Swiss finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf gave this assurance to Jaitley during a meeting last night, he said.

He said the two sides discussed the parameters based on which Switzerland can provide details on unaccounted money parked in Swiss bank accounts once independent evidence is furnished.

The Swiss minister also confirmed this in an interview to NDTV after her meeting with Jaitley. In the meeting that lasted over 35 minutes, Jaitley is reported to have expressed India's concerns on the slow progress in getting information from Switzerland.

"We have our legal basis and we need to respect that," the Swiss minister said, adding that she is "confident that India and Switzerland can go to a good end in their negotiations".

The Swiss minister also assured Jaitley that over the years such information will automatically be made available to India and other countries once that country introduces the new model in 2017.

"At that time we will have good legal basis to answer more requests than we can at the moment," she told NDTV.

Switzerland had, in October last year, signed a statement of understanding with India assuring cooperation on tax matters.

However, Switzerland insisted that it would not act on the basis of stolen data and would only share data on bank accounts with another country only if independent evidence on the same was made available.