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Switzerland to share data on black money if...

Source: PTI
May 21, 2010 10:04 IST
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Switzerland on Thursday said it would share data of black money allegedly stashed away by Indians in Swiss banks in accordance with the tax treaty between the two countries.

"The release of data shall be in accordance to the provisions of the double taxation (avoidance) treaty between the two countries," Switzerland Ambassador Philippe Welti told reporters on a query about Swiss government's stance on providing information about money from India stashed in Swiss banks.

Both countries have completed talks on revising the existing double tax avoidance agreement to seek information on black money.

Welti said, "The dialogue on revision has been in very specific direction that is to add tax frauds case as a qualification for request and also tax evasion cases to qualify for the release of data."

"Some other countries have also made similar requests, and negotiations have taken place, say two or three rounds so far and they have found agreement on the revised treaty, but I don't know whether it's been ratified or not," Welti said.

He said, it is for the Indian government to decide in which case they want to file a request to the Swiss government, and based on the procedure defined in the treaty our government shall release data.

"It's not a Swiss problem, it is for the Indian government to decide and identify in which case they want to file a request to the Swiss government based on that treaty," he said. Once any government, which has entered into the treaty, files a request that fulfills the legal requirements, the Swiss government will release data for that case, Welti said.

Earlier, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had also said India has already completed talks with Switzerland on amending the bilateral taxation agreement to seek information about funds parked in that country.

"We've been able to complete the negotiations (on tax treaties) with Switzerland...We've accepted the OECD clause 26 (article 26) earlier in our double taxation avoidance agreements," he had said in Parliament.

Article 26 in the OECD's (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) Model Tax Convention refers to exchange of information related to taxation. The issue of black money allegedly parked by Indians in Swiss banks became a major scoring point between political parties in the last general elections.

"There was hue and cry in the country before last year's general elections on Indian black money stashed in the foreign banks including that of Switzerland," Welti said on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

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