Swiss authorities have received requests for information concerning possible Swiss bank accounts of Anurag Kejriwal, the former leader of the Delhi branch of the Lok Satta Party.
Kejriwal’s name was published on Tuesday by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration via a noticeexternal link in the Federal Gazette with a view to inform him of the request for information concerning his Swiss bank account(s). In 2014, he was expelled from the Lok Satta party - which withdrew from electoral politics in 2016 - after an undercover sting operation showed him influence peddling.
Kejriwal was namedexternal link in the Panama Papers revelations for links to shell companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama. The Swiss tax authorities have also issued separate notices to four such companies based in the British Virgin Islands: Nedstar Commercial Ltd., Newington Group Trading Ltd, Biscay Overseas Limited and Krims Investments Inc.
According to standard procedure, the former politician has ten days to name a Swiss representative to receive the notifications. He can appeal against the final decision of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration regarding whether to share information on financial transactions.
Request for banking information of this kind could soon become a thing of the past. As of 2017, the ‘Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters’ has come into effect in Switzerland. Now countries with which Switzerland has signed agreements - including India – will no longer need to request information on their citizen’s Swiss bank accounts. The data will be handed over automatically once a year. However, this data can only be used for tax collection efforts and cannot be made public.
Switzerland has begun collecting such data from 2017 onwards and begin sharing it with select countries (mostly European ones) from 2018. India is among another batch of countries that will have to wait until 2019 for the first data exchange, pending parliamentary approval.