Zurich/New Delhi: Money kept by Pakistani nationals and enterprises in Swiss banks fell by 33 percent to a record low of CHF 744 million (Rs 5,300 crore) in 2018, falling below the level of Indian funds for the first time in four years.
The Pakistani money in Swiss banks had fallen by over 20 percent in 2017 (to CHF 1,115 million) and by 6 percent in 2016. Before that in 2015, these funds had risen 16 percent.
As per the latest data released on Thursday by Switzerland's central bank SNB (Swiss National Bank), the funds linked directly to clients from Pakistan stood at CHF 724.2 million at the end of 2018 (sharply down from CHF 1,100.7 million at 2017-end), though the money held through fiduciaries or wealth managers rose from CHF 15 million to just over CHF 20 million.
This included CHF 381 million held in Swiss banks in form of deposits by customers from Pakistan, marking a sharp decline from CHF 579 million at the end of 2017.
With the sharp decline in 2018, money held by Pakistani nationals and entities has fallen below that of Indians, which also fell by nearly 6 percent to CHF 954 million during the year.
This is the first time in the last four years that the funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks have slipped below that of Indians.
A number of other major countries also saw their funds falling in Swiss banks amid a global clampdown against the erstwhile banking secrecy walls in the Alpine nation.
However, these official figures disclosed by the SNB do not include the money that the foreign clients of Swiss banks might have kept in the name of shadow entities or shell companies.
Also, these figures do not indicate about the quantum of alleged black money, which has been a matter of a major political debate in various countries, including India and Pakistan.
As per the SNB data, the total funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of CHF 3.43 billion in the year 2001, but has come down considerably since then and has hit the lowest level since 1996, from which this data is available.
However, it rose by 6 percent and 16 percent during 2014 and 2015, respectively.
The total funds held by all foreign clients of Swiss banks fell by about 4 percent to CHF 1.4 trillion or about Rs 99 lakh crore in 2018, according to the SNB.