Make ‘Justified’ Requests Swiss Banks Tell India

As India aggressively pursues its black money stashed in Swiss banks, the banks have said that they follow strict rules and the requests from the Indian authorities must be “properly justified.”

The Association of Foreign Banks in Switzerland (AFBS) is also of the opinion that a clear and transparent policy can help in allaying "apprehensions" and the "conjectures" should not be allowed to dominate the public opinion.

India had recently requested Swiss authorities to give bank details of entities having accounts in Switzerland.

"India should be aware that its reputation in Switzerland as a country with a proper legal system and functioning rule of law has been seriously hampered as of late - for reasons not related to financial matters. But the mistrust spills over in other matters," the AFBS general secretary Martin Maurer said.

A UBS spokesperson said, "While we do not comment on specific cases, UBS applies the highest international standards worldwide in the fight against money laundering and corruption. Over the years, UBS has further strengthened and enhanced its anti-money laundering policies, ensuring it has one of the highest standards with respect to corroboration and verification of sources of wealth."

The AFBS, which has more than 140 members, further said that a clearly defined legal and administrative assistance procedure "would greatly help de-escalating the situation and allow proper handling of cases of illicit assets in case there are any."
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