As India continues its pursuit of black money allegedly stashed abroad, Switzerland has said that it would not entertain any 'fishing expedition' and authorities cannot ask for names of all Indian account holders in Swiss banks without doing their own independent investigations.
Switzerland's ambassador to India Linus von Castelmur also said that the past cannot be undone while promising full support of his country in cases where, at least, some proof is provided on tax frauds. He, however, agreed that all the money deposited in Swiss banks might not have always been 'taxed money' in the past as Switzerland was a major destination for several decades when money would flow in from different sources.
Castelmur told news agency PTI that cooperation by Swiss authorities cannot take place on the basis of stolen lists of account holders and would need independent probes by Indian agencies and, at least, a prima facie proof of tax frauds.
"We understand and appreciate India's concerns on the matter. We need clear understanding on the issue," Castelmur said. "I think one part of the issue is dealing with the past and Switzerland was destination for several decades where money flowed in from difference sources and that was no always a tax money."
Castelmur, who was in Mumbai for an award function where Wipro chairman Azim Premji was given a Swiss honour for inspirational and socially responsible leadership, added, " ... we see that problem will be solved. We have excellent contact with the Indian government. You cannot undo the past, but future is bright."
As per the latest official data of the Swiss National Bank, deposits of Indians in Swiss banks stood at over Rs 14,000 crore at the end of 2013, but these are the officially declared funds by Indian clients of Swiss banks and might not be illicit wealth.
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