According to the official annual data released on Thursday by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the country's central banking authority. It said that the money parked by Indians in Swiss banks rose over 50 percent to CHF 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017. This has reversed the three-year downward trend amid India's clampdown on suspected black money stashed there.
The report further showed that the total funds held by all foreign clients of Swiss banks rose about 3 percent to CHF 1.46 trillion or about Rs 100 lakh crore in 2017. The surge in Indian money held with Swiss banks comes as a surprise given India's continuing clampdown on suspected black money stashed abroad, including in banks of Switzerland that used to be known for their famed secrecy walls for years.
In 2016, Indian money in Swiss banks had fallen by 45 percent, marking their biggest ever yearly plunge, to CHF 676 million (about Rs 4,500 crore) which is the lowest ever since the European nation began making the data public in 1987.
As per the data, the total funds held by Indians directly with Swiss banks rose to 999 million Swiss francs (Rs 6,891 crore) in 2017 and those held through fiduciaries or wealth managers increased to CHF 16.2 million (Rs 112 crore). At the end of 2016, these figures stood at CHF 664.8 million and CHF 11 million, respectively.
As of 2017, the Indian money in Swiss banks included CHF 464 million (Rs 3,200 crore) in customer deposits, CHF 152 million (Rs 1,050 crore) through other banks and CHF 383 million (Rs 2,640 crore) as 'other liabilities' such as securities.
The data released by the Zurich-based bank comes months after a new framework having been put in place for an automatic exchange of information between Switzerland and India to help check the black money menace, which was agreed upon by the nation to further expand its cooperation on India's fight against black money.
The funds, that are described by SNB as 'liabilities' of Swiss banks or 'amounts due to' their clients, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate to the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians there. It also does not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.
On directions of the Supreme Court, India had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe cases of alleged black money of Indians, including funds, stashed abroad in places like Switzerland, which is considered a safe haven due to its banking secrecy policies.
Inputs from PTI