Swiss accounts: Four new names public, but no Indian this time

These included an American citizen, identified by the initials 'RK' and date of birth, Czech Republic-based H2 Medical, as also a Georgian and a Nigerian national.

Berne: Continuing to shed its famed banking secrecy veil, Switzerland on Wednesday made public four fresh names about which it has been approached by foreign countries for information, but they did not include any Indian.

These included an American citizen, identified by the initials 'RK' and date of birth, Czech Republic-based H2 Medical, as also a Georgian and a Nigerian national.

While the US citizen and the Czech Republic company have been given an opportunity to file appeals against their information being shared, the appeal of the Georgian individual has already been rejected. The Nigerian person has filed his appeal in the Swiss Federal Administrative Court.

These names are being published in Switzerland's official gazette pursuant to information requests received by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) from the foreign countries.

So far, the names of seven 'Indian nationals' have been published, while the gazette has also made public the names of five entities based in foreign locations for which the tax authorities from India have sought information.

Most of these foreign entities are based in tax havens and are being probed by the Indian authorities on suspicion for being linked with Indian nationals or companies.

These include Mokopane Ltd and Sorwood Development (both based in British Virgin Islands), Kinetic Holdings Ltd from Channel Islands, Alea Management Ltd from Bahamas and Anrid LLC (ICC Management Services) from New Castle County, USA.

As per the Swiss gazette notifications, FTA has already shared some details about them with the Indian authorities.

However, these details have not been disclosed in the gazette, which mentions that the information needs to be kept secret and could be shared only with those concerned with their assessment or prosecution and only for such purposes.

Most of the Indian requests have been made through the Foreign Tax and Tax Research Division in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue).

Officials said that some names have been made public through the gazette notifications in the past also, but those were of the persons that banks were unable to locate.

Also, the numbers have gone up in a big way because of a quantum leap in the number of requests being received by the Swiss tax department from the foreign governments for mutual assistance procedure.
Besides, a new law has done away with the mandatory requirement of a bank customer being informed first before any sharing of information about them by the Swiss authorities.

The officials also said that the main purpose of the names being published in the gazette is providing the concerned persons an opportunity to explore legal remedies.

The names being made public in this manner could include some big names, as those whose names have been published in the latest gazette includes Francisco Jose Ortiz von Bismarck. As per German media reports, he is a descendant of the first Chancellor of German empire Otto von Bismarck.

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