Karnali (Gujarat) (IANS): Expressing satisfaction with Swiss authorities sharing the names of two Indian nationals in connection with black money stashed abroad, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that the move should provide enough indications of action against those holding unaccounted assets outside India.
“I am extremely encouraged by the government of Switzerland and the competent authorities there in cooperating with the Indian request,” Jaitley said here.
“I have been repeatedly saying that the veil of secrecy with regard to assets and monies kept by Indian entities outside India is going to be lifted. This should give a sufficient indicator to those who hold assets outside India,” he said.
Two Indian women figure among dozens of foreign nationals with Swiss bank accounts made public in Switzerland’s Federal Gazette for being probed in their respective countries.
“In the last one year, we have had extensive negotiations with the Swiss authorities. These negotiations have been at the level of the revenue secretary and at my own level on two occasions, and the Swiss authorities have been moving in the direction of cooperation,” the minister said.
The Swiss authorities revealed the names of Indian nationals Sneh Lata Sawhney and Sangita Sawhney and have reportedly asked them to file an appeal within 30 days to avoid having their details shared with the Indian authorities.
“As it is, some countries have already been cooperating. The world is moving in the direction of automatic exchange of information,” Jaitley added.
Last month in Washington, Jaitley sought urgent implementation of the automatic exchange of financial account information globally to tackle the menace of black money.
“We strongly feel that there is a need to ensure that the common reporting standards on automatic exchange of information should be implemented on a fully reciprocal global basis and those countries which have not yet committed to the timeline of 2017 or 2018 should do it without any further delay,” he said at the annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
India has strongly advocated fast implementation of the automatic exchange of tax information globally, within the time-frame agreed to by the G20 countries.
At the G20 Brisbane summit last November, leaders endorsed a new global transparency standard by which more than 90 jurisdictions will begin automatic exchange of tax information, using a common reporting standard by 2017-18.
India has no official estimates of illegal money stashed away overseas, but the unofficial assessments put the figure from $466 billion to $1.4 trillion.