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Securities in Swiss banks at $3.35 trillion!

Source: PTI
April 07, 2009 17:20 IST
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At a time when crackdown on tax havens has acquired a political colour, data shows that Swiss banks held securities worth $3.35 trillion in 2008, with over half managed on behalf of foreign entities.

Switzerland is among the many countries named in the 'grey list' by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development for not substantially implementing the international tax standards, after the G-20 leaders agreed to crack down on tax havens.

The Swiss Bankers Association quoting Swiss National Bank figures said the value of securities in custody accounts of the country's banks stood at 3.82 trillion Swiss francs (about $3.35 trillion) in 2008.

Of the total, securities held on behalf of foreign institutional, corporate and private clients touched more than 2.19 trillion Swiss francs (about $1.92 trillion).

"The Swiss National Bank publishes a figure for the value of securities held in custody accounts in Switzerland.

"At year-end 2008, it was a total of CHF 3,822 billion, of which CHF 2,190 billion was managed on behalf of foreign institutional, corporate and private clients," an SBA spokesperson told PTI in an e mailed statement from Basel in Switzerland.

Founded in 1912, SBA has nearly 363 institutional members and about 16,000 individual members.

Swiss National Bank, which is the nation's central bank, does not reveal the country-by-country breakdown of these figures, the SBA spokesperson said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has said the unaccounted money kept by Indians in tax havens abroad is up to $1.5 trillion while according to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the amount is about $1.4 trillion.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police recently in a report said that the number of Suspicious Activity Reports in connection with money laundering jumped from 795 in 2007 to 851 last year.

This included nine related to suspected terror financing with assets over one million Swiss francs ($884,600).

"The increase was due mainly to the greater volume of reports from the banking sector, which reached a new record high. The total value of assets involved doubled to reach an all-time high of CHF 1.87 billion Swiss francs ($1.65 billion)," the FDJP said in a statement.

In 2008, the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland received 851 SARs, with nearly 67 per cent of them coming from the banking sector.

"Although the acts of corruption took place abroad, the suspected bribe money was deposited in Switzerland," it added.

The FDJP said that in the CHF 1.87 billion, three SARs totalling CHF 700 million ($620.5 million) are involved.

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