No `black money` statistics exist: Swiss banks

Amid claims from various quarters that Indians have stashed away thousands of crores in secret bank accounts in Switzerland, the Swiss banks have asserted that any statistics about black money "simply do not exist".

New Delhi: Amid claims from various quarters that Indians have stashed away thousands of crores in secret bank accounts in Switzerland, the Swiss banks have asserted that any statistics about black money "simply do not exist".

Various political parties and other groups have been
claiming that the black money stashed away in Swiss banks by
Indians exceed one trillion dollars.

These statistics, which put Indians at the top in terms
of deposits in Swiss banks, have often been quoted to global
institutions and sometimes even to the Swiss National Bank,
the central bank of the country.

Seeking to demolish the "myth" over these figures being
"circulated as gospel truth", a top official at the Swiss
Bankers` Association said to a news agency from Basel that there were no truth at all in such statistics.

"Anyone claiming to have such figures should be forced to
identify their source and explain the methodology used to
produce them," said the SBA`s Head of International
Communications, James Nason.

"We take all our statistics from Swiss National Bank and
statistics about `black money` simply do not exist," he added.

Nason said he was aware of such figures being quoted to a
SBA report on bank deposits in the Swiss banks by people of
various nationalities, which put Indians as the biggest
depositors there, but asserted that there were no truth in it
and it never published any such report.

"About 18 months ago some mischievous person launched a
story on the Internet saying the Swiss Bankers Association had
issued a report in 2006 showing the amount of so-called "black
money" deposited in Switzerland by citizens of countries such
as India, China, Russia and Ukraine and quoted figures in the
billions.
"The figures were rapidly picked up in the Indian media
and in Indian Opposition circles, and circulated as gospel
truth. However, this story was a complete fabrication. The
Swiss Bankers Association never published such a report,"
Nason noted.

These reports have said that Indians had over 1.4
trillion dollars in Swiss banks, followed by Russia (470
billion dollars), UK (390 billion report), Ukraine (100
billion dollar) and China (96 billion dollars) at end of 2006.

Nason clarified further that the Swiss National Bank
gives out figures for value of securities held in custody
accounts for domestic and foreign clients, but no break ups
are given on the basis of nationality of foreign clients.

"The Swiss National Bank gives a figure for the value of
securities (mainly bonds and shares) held in custody accounts.
At the end of June 2009 the total value was 3,985 billion
Swiss francs. This figure is for all clients -- Swiss and
foreign institutional, commercial and private clients," Nason
said.

"Of this, 2,237 billion Swiss francs (56 percent) was
held on behalf of foreign institutional, commercial and
private clients. Foreign private clients account for 694
billion Swiss francs (17.5 percent of the whole amount).

"The Swiss National Bank does not break these (value of
securities) figures down according to the nationality of
clients, so there is no way to see how much is owned by Indian
institutional, commercial or private clients," Nason said.

Amid a furore over the issue of black money lying in
Swiss banks, the Indian government said last month it would
begin talks in December for re-negotiating a tax treaty with
Switzerland so that it could seek details of the defaulters.

Recently, Switzerland`s Vice President Doris Leuthard
said during a visit to the country that the new Double
Taxation Avoidance Treaty, once finalised, would enable India
to seek details about black money deposited by Indians there.

PTI

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