Data from the Swiss National Bank shows that funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks rose to its highest level in 13 years in 2020.

The government has no official estimate of black money stashed in the Swiss Bank over the last 10 years, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Monday.

The Centre’s response came a month after annual data from Switzerland’s central bank, the Swiss National Bank, showed that funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks rose to 2.55 billion Swiss francs (over Rs 20,700 crore) in 2020. The amount was the highest in 13 years and marked a jump of 183% from the figure reported in 2019.

Responding to a separate question on the rise in Indian funds in Swiss banks, Chaudhary said that annual banking statistics of the Swiss National Bank should not be used for analysing deposits held in Switzerland by residents of India.

Responding to the question from Congress MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Chaudhary cited a clarification from Swiss authorities suggesting that media reports in India about funds in Swiss banks have often resulted in “misleading headlines and analyses”.

“It is frequently assumed that any assets held by Indian residents in Switzerland are undeclared (so-called ‘Black Money’),” the Swiss authorities have said, according to Chaudhary. The minister added that customer deposits held with Swiss banks are not necessarily located in Switzerland

In October 2019, Swiss tax authorities had shared with India the first tranche of details about the financial accounts of Indian clients in Swiss banks under the automatic information exchange framework between the two countries. However, the finance ministry had refused to share details of the data, saying such disclosures are prohibited under “confidentiality provisions” of a tax treaty between India and Switzerland.

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