Black money: Switzerland ratifies Automatic Exchange of Information

Berne/New Delhi: The Indian government’s campaign against black money stashed overseas received a major boost on Friday with Switzerland ratifying the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) on financial accounts with India and 40 other jurisdictions, even as it sought strict compliance on confidentiality and data security.

The Swiss Federal Council on Friday adopted the dispatch on introducing AEOI and said its implementation was planned for 2018, while the first set of data would be exchanged in 2019.

“In concrete terms, the AEOI will be activated with each individual state or territory by means of a specific federal decree within the framework of this dispatch,” the Council, which is the highest governing organ of Switzerland, said in a statement.

It said the proposal to introduce AEOI with the countries specified, including India, “met with widespread approval from the interested parties who voiced their opinions in the consultations”.

The exchange of information itself will be carried out based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information based on the international standard for the exchange of information developed by the developed countries’ think-tank the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Council said it would prepare a situation report before the first exchange of data, which was planned for autumn 2019.

“In the process, it will be checked whether the states and territories concerned effectively meet the requirements under the standard, especially those concerning confidentiality and data security,” it said.

“It is important for the Federal Council that a level playing field be created among states and that all major financial centres, in particular, be included,” it added.

Switzerland has already introduced the AEOI with at least 38 countries and territories, including 28 members of the European Union, and will start sharing data with them in 2018.

With a lot of unaccounted Indian money reportedly being kept in Swiss banks, India and Switzerland have been in talks for a long time for the introduction of AEOI.

The Indian government has taken various steps to combat black money, which include the demonetisation of high-value currency in November last year and the enacting of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. (IANS)

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