'Pakistan's money in Swiss banks higher than India's'



Zurich/New Delhi: When it comes to money in Swiss banks, Pakistan has a slight edge over India with total funds amounting to 1,441 million Swiss francs (about Rs 9,200 crore) held there by Pakistani individuals and entities.

However, this was the lowest level for such funds ever since Switzerland's central bank began compiling this data in 2002 and was less than half of the record high amount of over 3 billion Swiss francs recorded in 2005. The previous record low of 1.95 billion Swiss francs was seen in the year 2010.

In their local currency, the total funds held by individuals and entities from Pakistan in Swiss banks stood at over 15,000 crore Pakistani rupees as on December 31, 2012.

This marked a decline of nearly 32 per cent from 2,119 million Swiss francs (about Rs 23,000 crore Pakistani rupees) at the end of 2011, as per the latest annual report of Switzerland's central bank on banks operating in the country.

The issue of alleged stashing of black money in Swiss banks has been a matter of intense debate in Pakistan, as there have been reports of some top former government leaders having kept their money in banks in the European country due to their hugely popular 'safe-haven' status.

However, a higher amount than Indian entities assumes significance because Pakistan is a much smaller country in terms of population and area.

Still, the quantum of money held by Swiss banks for their Pakistani clients was about 1.5 percent higher than the equivalent figure for Indians at 1,421 million Swiss francs (about Rs 9,100 crore) at the end of 2012, the latest data compiled by Swiss National Bank (SNB) shows.

The total 1.44 billion Swiss francs held by Pakistani individuals and entities in Switzerland's banks included 1,170 million Swiss francs held directly by them and another 271 million Swiss francs through 'fiduciaries' or wealth managers.

This marked a significant decline from 1,764 million Swiss francs held directly and another 355 million Swiss francs through fiduciaries at the end of 2011, the data shows.

The total funds held by Indians also saw a significant plunge of 35 percent from 2,183 million Swiss francs at the end of 2011 and hit their record low levels in 2012.

As a global clampdown against the famed secrecy wall of Swiss banks made them unattractive for their global clients, the funds held by entities from across the world also fell by over nine percent to a low of 1.4 trillion Swiss francs (USD 1.5 trillion) in 2012.

The data has been released at a time when Switzerland is facing growing pressure from the US and other countries to share the foreign client details, while its own lawmakers are resisting such measures.

The funds, described by SNB as 'liabilities' of Swiss banks towards their clients from India, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate towards the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in the safe havens of Switzerland.

SNB's official figures do not include the money that foreign nationals, including from India or Pakistan, might have in Swiss banks in the names of others.

On the other hand, Swiss banks had total assets of 365 million Swiss francs in Pakistan, which included 193 million Swiss francs of loans given to Pakistani clients.

The assets in India stood much higher at USD 4,277 million at the end of 2012.

PTI