Committing its support to India’s fight against the black money menace, Switzerland on Friday said its Parliament will soon consider changes in laws to look into the possibility of sharing information in cases being probed on the basis of stolen data of Swiss bank accounts.
To consider providing ‘administrative assistance’ to foreign countries, which would include India, in such cases, a proposal would be moved in the Swiss Parliament in the second half of this year, Switzerland’s Economic Affairs Minister Johann N Schneider Ammann said.
Ammann, who is in India on a three-day visit, said Switzerland is sensitive to the fact that the issue of black money is very important for India and needs to be resolved.
“Switzerland has decided to follow international standards, including those framed by OECD, in sharing information and providing assistance to foreign countries probing such cases, but we have to ask our Parliament to make changes in our laws,” he said at a select media briefing.
Ammann said the Swiss government is committed to resolve this issue and the Federal Council, the apex decision making body in Switzerland (equivalent to Cabinet in India), has decided to provide a ‘clarification’ to the Parliament on legal situation on administrative assistance in cases of stolen data.
When asked whether the new black money law passed in India would have ramifications for Swiss banks, the Minister said it was too early to talk about that as the procedures and the law itself first needs to be understood.
Under the new law, those found to be stashing illicit funds in foreign locations, including Swiss banks, would face strict penal action, including up to ten years in jail and a penalty of 90 per cent of funds in addition to 30 per cent tax levy.
However, a one-time ‘compliance window’ will be provided before the law comes into force and this would let the persons with foreign assets to come clean by payment of 30 per cent tax and 30 per cent penalty.