New Delhi/Berne: Stepping up its hunt for black money stashed abroad, India has approached Switzerland for banking details of at least ten persons and entities suspected to have kept untaxed money in Swiss banks.
These include two listed textile companies, while others are associated with an art curator and his carpet export business. Switzerland's tax department issued notices to them last week to reply within 30 days to appeal the decision about providing 'administrative assistance' in information requests from India.
Under its local rules, Switzerland provides a final chance to the concerned persons and entities before sharing the information about suspected cases of tax crimes with any foreign jurisdiction. These notices are made public through gazette notifications if they are not reachable directly by the concerned banks or the tax department.
At least ten such notices concerning individuals and companies with Indian links were issued last week -- which could be the highest for a country within a week.
The notices name two listed textile firms -- Neo Corporation International and SEL Manufacturing Company Ltd. There are also some companies incorporated in tax havens like Panama and British Virgin Islands.
Most of the companies and individuals are associated with a carpet export business and an art curator with operations across several countries. These are Abdul Rashid Mir, Amir Mir, Sabeha Mir, Mujeeb Mir and Tabassum Mir. The companies named in these notices include Cottage Industries Exposition, Modale SA and Progress Ventures Group.
Some of these names had figured in the leaked Panama Papers too, but several of them including the two listed firms have denied any wrongdoing. Earlier, the notices were issued by Switzerland's Federal Tax Administration (FTA) asking some of them to designate a representative to exercise their “right to be heard” before the assistance is extended to India.
India has been seeking “administrative assistance”, including access to bank account details of the persons and the companies suspected to have stashed undisclosed funds in banks in Switzerland, after furnishing some evidence to justify the suspicion.
As per the local law, Switzerland gives an opportunity to the entity concerned to challenge the sharing of information, before providing the assistance to the requesting nation.
The Swiss notices mention the names of individuals, their nationality and dates of birth. In case of companies, their names and the countries of incorporation are mentioned