Swiss Banks agrees to share Information: The end of “Secret Wealth”?

Swiss Banks, under pressure from various nations, have finally agreed to share account details of suspected money launderers. However the request to avail information would have to be supported with four basic conditions, as laid down by the Swiss Banks:

  1. The identity of the suspected offenders
  2. Details of the alleged offence, along with facts to undermine the suspicion
  3. Name of the bank and branch concerned in Switzerland and
  4. A written request from the foreign country’s tax authority

The above has been listed out by Switzerland-based banks’ apex body, The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA), as the set of conditions for providing bank account details to other countries in its latest ‘compendium’ on the Swiss banking sector being distributed to various stakeholders. They have also said that account details would not be exchanged automatically and would be shared with foreign countries only under their taxation agreements.

Switzerland is revising tax treaties with various countries, including India, as per an international model agreement on double taxation, which governs the exchange of information and mutual administrative assistance. India has completed talks with Switzerland already to amend their bilateral tax treaty and so the recent developments are believed to pave the way for Government authorities to seek details of illicit wealth stashed away by Indians in Swiss banks.