Finance ministry refutes report on surge in Indian funds with Swiss banks

The ministry of finance on Friday refuted news reports that cited a Rs20,700 crore rise of Indian funds in Swiss banks and the alleged rise of black money held by Indians in Switzerland. 

The finance ministry’ s clarification comes following certain media reports stating that funds of Indians in Swiss banks have risen to over Rs20,700 crore (CHF 2.55 billion) at the end of 2020 from Rs6,625 crore (CHF 899 million) at the end of 2019, reversing a 2 year declining trend. It has also been stated that this is also the highest figure of deposits in the last 13 years.
In an official release, the finance ministry stated that the figures did not indicate the 'quantum of black money' held by Indians, and that the biggest increase had been cited under 'other amounts due from customers'- which refers to bonds, securities, and various other financial instruments.
"Media reports allude to the fact that the figures reported are official figures reported by banks to Swiss National Bank (SNB) and do not indicate the quantum of much debated alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland. Further, these statistics do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of third–country entities," the finance ministry stated.
The ministry cited the fall in the customer deposits from 2019 stating, "The funds held through fiduciaries has also more than halved from end of 2019." It also stated that exchanges of financial account information in respect of residents of each country have taken place between both countries in 2019 and 2020 and in view of the information exchanged, “there does not appear to be any significant possibility of the increase of deposits in the Swiss banks which is out of undeclared incomes of Indian residents”.
The centre has asked the Swiss authorities to provide the relevant facts along with their view on possible reasons for increase/decrease in Indian funds as cited by the news reports.
On Thursday PTI reported that funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks had risen to 2.55 billion Swiss francs (over Rs20,700 crore) in 2020 on a sharp surge in holdings via securities and similar instruments. Citing the annual data from Switzerland's central bank, the report stated that while customer deposits fell, there was an increase in aggregate funds of Indian clients with Swiss banks. According to PTI, the rise in Indian funds from 899 million Swiss francs (Rs6,625 crore) at the end of 2019, reverses a two-year declining trend and has taken the figure to the highest level in 13 years.