Indian residents’ deposits in Switzerland-based banks dropped 34.5% in 2017 compared with a year-ago period, while the same declined by over 80% during 2013-2017 period, finance minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.
Non-bank loans and deposits in Swiss banks, which the finance ministry claimed are the right data to identify black money, stood at $524 million in 2017, down from $800 million in 2016. In 2013, these deposits amounted to $2,648 million. The deposit statistics have been sourced from Bank of International Settlements (BIS), which constitutes the individual and corporate deposits used as black money haven in the past and exclude interbank transactions, the finance ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that Swiss ambassador also pointed out that the right data set to ascertain Indian residents’ deposits in Switzerland is published by BIS which collects Locational Banking Statistics (LBS) in collaboration with the Swiss National Bank (SNB). Further, the ministry said LBS measures international banking activity from a residence perspective, focusing on the location of the banking office and captures around 95% of all cross-border banking activity.
Last month, agencies had reported that that the money parked by Indians in Swiss banks rose to 1.01 billion Swiss francs (`7,000 crore) in 2017 after falling for three consecutive years. The reports were based on SNB annual banking statistics for 2017.
However, the finance ministry said that the SNB’s data are usually misinterpreted because it includes non-deposit liabilities, business of Swiss branches located in India, interbank transactions and fiduciary liability.
“Therefore, as mentioned by the Swiss Ambassador Andreas Baum in a letter to the Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri Piyush Goyal, it is frequently assumed that any assets held by Indian Residents in Switzerland are undeclared (black money),” a statement said.
India also signed an agreement with Switzerland on December 21, 2017. Both countries started collecting data in accordance with global standards on January 1, 2018, and would start the exchange of data from September 2019 on a yearly basis. This makes relevant information available in India which eliminates the threat of black money and action can be taken against any entity indulging in such activities, the ministry said.