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Stashed funds


Swiss invite Indians for tax discussions




The Swiss finance ministry has invited an Indian delegation to come to Bern to discuss tax matters related to Indian funds in Swiss bank accounts.

Mario Tuor, a finance ministry spokesman, said the invitation has been extended but the Indian government has not yet reacted.

In recent months, India has increased pressure on Switzerland to disclose the names of Indian account holders who may be stashing untaxed funds in Swiss banks.

Last month, rumours of a list of such tax dodgers prepared by the Swiss for the Indian government turned out to be untrue. However, Switzerland had previously disclosed information on a small number of Indian clients after having been accused of being uncooperative.
India has been looking into 782 names taken from a list of HSBC bank clients given to foreign authorities by former bank employee Hervé Falciani. Swiss authorities said they would not provide assistance on the basis of stolen data.

Switzerland has so far generally refused to share names or disclose client information with India under its bank secrecy laws, but some feel a door may have been opened through the Swiss endorsement of the Declaration on Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters in May.

That declaration, sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), will pave the way for Switzerland to start negotiating bilateral tax deals with “selected” countries, according to the government.

Since India has not yet responded to the Swiss invitation, no date has been set for a potential conference, according to Tuor.

swissinfo.ch and agencies