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How can you assume all money in Swiss banks is black, asks FM Piyush Goyal

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Referring to reports of 50% rise in deposits made by Indians in 2017, he said the government will take action if someone is found guilty.

New Delhi: With deposits by Indians in Swiss banks surging, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal Friday wondered how all of it can be assumed to be black money, but said strong action would be taken against anyone found guilty of wrongdoing.

India would start getting details of bank accounts from Switzerland under a bilateral treaty, he said.

Money parked by Indians in Swiss banks rose over 50 per cent to CHF 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017, reversing a three-year downward trend amid India’s clampdown on suspected black money stashed there.

In comparison, the total funds held by all foreign clients of Swiss banks rose about 3 per cent to CHF 1.46 trillion or about Rs 100 lakh crore in 2017, according to data released by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the central banking authority of the Alpine nation.

India has a treaty with Switzerland under which the Swiss government would provide all data from January 1, 2018 till December 31, 2018. India would get data as the accounting year ends, Goyal said.

Referring to the rise in Swiss bank deposits by Indians, Goyal said, “The data that you alluded to will come to us, so how are you assuming that this is black money or this is illegal transaction?”

Around 40 per cent of this money is because of the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), Goyal said, citing media reports.

The scheme was introduced by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Under the LRS, an individual could remit up to USD 2,50,000 per year.

“We will have all information. If someone is found guilty, the government will take strong action against them,” Goyal said. –PTI

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