For the first time Switzerland has handed over information on a small number of Indians with Swiss bank accounts. It has come after recent complaints from the Indian authorities over a lack of co-operation in their fight to find tax evaders.
Mario Tuor, head of communications at the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters, confirmed to swissinfo.ch that Switzerland had provided information on a number of names “a few weeks ago”.
He would not comment on how many individuals were concerned, only that the number was small and that they were not among the names on a stolen list of HSBC clients.
Clarifying details he gave to Indian website, The News Minute, Tuor stated that the Indian authorities came to the Swiss with the names – he would not elaborate on the type of details that were given in response.
In March, Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, received a letter from her Indian counterpart complaining about an overall alleged lack of cooperation on the issue.
Palaniappan Chidambaram wrote that Switzerland had not provided administrative assistance to their investigation into suspected tax evasion.
India has been looking into 782 names taken from a list of HSBC clients given to foreign authorities by former bank employee Hervé Falciani.
Widmer-Schlumpf turned down a request from India to provide information last year. The finance minister stood by her decision in January, again stating that assistance could not be provided on the basis of stolen data.
Tuor told swissinfo.ch on Monday that it was clear the Indian authorities are “not satisfied” with Switzerland’s level of cooperation.
swissinfo.ch and agencies