Swiss govt supports action against tax dodgers

The Swiss government has expressed its resolve to take action against tax fraud and tax avoidance, but is yet to fully accede to India's demand to hand over details of illegal bank accounts of Indian citizens in Swiss banks.

Swiss President, Johann N Schneider-Ammann, welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi for an official meeting on 6 June.

Speaking after the talks, Modi told a press conference that "combating the menace of 'black money' and tax evasion" is a "shared priority."

He did not say what the Swiss authorities have to offer on this. "We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders. An early start to negotiations on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information would be important in this respect," Modi said.

India has joined a group comprising some of Europe's biggest nations, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, in a scheme to clamp down on tax evasion and corruption, the British government said on Wednesday.

Signatories to the scheme offer to give each another free access to information on who ultimately owns companies.

Most European countries apart from Switzerland have signed up to the information exchange, in addition to several Caribbean tax havens, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised in his 2014 election campaign to recover billions of dollars sent to tax havens abroad to avoid paying tax in India.

Earlier this week, Switzerland promised to work with Indian authorities to tackle tax dodgers who stash money in Swiss bank accounts.