08.08.2017

Switzerland says India's laws adequate for sharing banking data

400Switzerland found India’s data security and confidentiality laws “adequate” for entering into an automatic exchange of information pact. The pact will open a continuous access to details about alleged black money hoarders in once-all-secret Swiss banks.

In a notification and fact sheet published in its official gazette for introduction of “automatic exchange of information relating to financial accounts with India”, the Swiss government also cited decisions by other financial centres like Liechtenstein and Bahamas to enter into similar pacts.

Besides, Switzerland also took note of the US tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), recognising India among the countries that provide an “adequate degree” of data protection for mutual exchange of tax information.

Switzerland published an official notification, reasoning its decision to sign the AEOI pact with India. The document, published in German, cites similar information sharing agreements inked by Bahamas and Liechtenstein with India.

The document also talks about Switzerland looking to explore greater access to Indian market, including the reinsurance sector and other financial services.

The Swiss Federal Council, the top governing body of the European nation, in June ratified automatic exchange of financial account information with India and 40 other jurisdictions to facilitate immediate sharing of details about suspected black money even as it sought strict adherence to confidentiality and data security.

Taking the decision forward, the Swiss government has now notified the decision and the notification authorises the Council to notify India about the exact date when such automatic exchange must take place.

The AEOI framework would come into effect by 2018, with the first set of data being expected to be shared by early 2019. Geneva-based Association of Swiss Private Banks, in the past month, had issued a warning to all 40 jurisdictions over the maintenance of confidentiality of the data exchanged.

“We would like to ensure that bank data that will be transmitted in 2019 is used for tax verification purposes only… if data received from another country has been misused in a jurisdiction, Switzerland is unlikely to send data to that jurisdiction,” Jan Langlo, Manager of Geneva-based Association of Swiss Private Banks, was quoted as saying by PTI.


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