The promises and claims to get back the money deposited in Swiss banks were not kept. However, what is more worrying is that the deposits of Indian clients in the swiss banks have witnessed a surge.
This piece of information has come at a time when the world including India has been fighting the deadly pandemic and all the sectors including economy is witnessing he stress. The average middle class is facing a battle of survival everyday and the ones who have the resources are heaping on their amassed wealth.
Notably, the funds parked by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks, including through India-based branches and other financial institutions, jumped to 2.55 billion Swiss francs (over Rs 20,700 crore) in 2020 on a sharp surge in holdings via securities and similar instruments.
The increase in aggregate funds of Indian clients with Swiss banks, from 899 million Swiss francs (Rs 6,625 crore) at the end of 2019, reverses a two-year declining trend and has taken the figure to the highest level in 13 years.
It stood at a record high of nearly 6.5 billion Swiss francs in 2006, after which it has been mostly on a downward path, except for a few years including in 2011, 2013 and 2017, as per the Swiss National Bank (SNB) data.
The total amount of CHF 2,554.7 million (Rs 20,706 crore), described by the SNB as ‘total liabilities’ of Swiss banks or ‘amounts due to’ their Indian clients at the end of 2020, included CHF 503.9 million (over Rs 4,000 crore) in customer deposits, CHF 383 million (over Rs 3,100 crore) held via other banks, CHF 2 million (Rs 16.5 crore) through fiduciaries or trusts and the highest component of CHF 1,664.8 million (nearly Rs 13,500 crore) as ‘other amounts due to customers’ in form of bonds, securities and various other financial instruments.
While the funds classified as ‘customer account deposits’ have actually declined from CHF 550 million at the end of 2019 and those through fiduciaries also more than halved from CHF 7.4 million, the money held via other banks rose sharply from CHF 88 million in this period.
However, the biggest difference has been a surge in ‘other amounts due to customers’ from India, which rose over six times from CHF 253 million at 2019-end. All four components had declined during 2019.
These are official figures reported by banks to the SNB and do not indicate the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in Switzerland.
These figures also do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in names of third-country entities.
Swiss authorities have always maintained that assets held by Indian residents in Switzerland cannot be considered as ‘black money’ and they actively support India in its fight against tax fraud and evasion. But all these assertions need to be proved on ground which unfortunately has been escaping all types of scrutiny.