Switzerland taking refuge under `stolen data` excuse: FM

Last Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 21:31

New Delhi: Accusing Switzerland of not following G-20 resolution on sharing banking details, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said if they can give information to the US based on stolen data, then why not to India.

Asserting that he has done everything possible to get information on the alleged blackmoney stashed by Indians in Swiss banks, Chidambaram said the authorities there are taking refuge under the excuse that requests based on stolen data cannot be shared.
"I have pressed so hard that the Swiss Finance Minister is deeply embarrassed even to meet me in international forum because I have told her that it is a very serious issue in India and she must share information with us," Chidambaram told a press conference here.

"They take refuge under one excuse. What excuse it is? That (information sought is based) stolen data. I said what is stolen data? I did not steal any data. This is data which was there with the French government.

"Well we can`t share stolen data unless our Parliament passes a law. Then I asked her how did you share information with the US? The US had greater clout than India, you share information with the US, you won`t share with us?," he said.

Chidambaram said that India would raise this issue at every forum, including the meetings of G-20 leaders that is going to happen on the sidelines of World Bank IMF annual meet next month in Washington.
"... On every forum we will raise the issue that Switzerland is non-compliant with the G-20 resolution that the era of bank secrecy is over," he noted.

On March 13, Chidambaram had written to his Swiss counterpart Eveline Widmer Schlumpf raising concerns about the alpine nation not sharing information on alleged unaccounted money stashed by Indian citizens in banks there.

"I have done more than anyone else to push press the other government`s to share information. Mr Mukherjee (his predecessor) did his best," Chidambaram said.

"I have done everything possible in my power to get the information. In the Budget speech I reported what information I got. The number of cases I have got.

"In course of time, in the next couple of weeks perhaps, we will release some information about who has been assessed, who has been taxed," Chidambaram said.

The issue of Indians parking illicit funds in Swiss banks has been a hot topic in the country and it is also becoming a major talking point in the run up to Lok Sabha polls starting April 7.

Chidambaram, in his letter to Swiss Finance Minister, had said that Switzerland`s refusal to provide information to India and other countries on the grounds that the source of the information requested is based on `stolen data` means that, in practice, Switzerland still believes in bank secrecy and is therefore not in tune with the modern era.

Last week, Switzerland had said it would soon respond to Chidambaram`s letter.

PTI

First Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 21:31

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