Pakistani money in Swiss banks down but remains above Indian funds

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NEW DELHI: Money kept by Pakistani nationals in Swiss banks fell by over 21 per cent to a record low of CHF 1.115 billion (Rs 7,700 crore) in 2017, even as the same from India rose after three straight years of decline.

The Pakistani money in Swiss banks had fallen by 6 per cent to CHF 1.4 billion (about Rs 9,500 crore) in 2016. Before that in 2015, these funds had risen 16 per cent from CHF 1,301 billion at 2014-end.

As per the latest data released on Friday by Switzerland’s central bank SNB (Swiss National Bank), the funds linked directly to clients from Pakistan stood at CHF 1,100.7 million at the end of 2017, while the money held through fiduciaries or wealth managers was CHF 15 million.

In comparison, the clients’ direct money stood at CHF 1,386.6 million and through fiduciaries at CHF 29 million in 2016.

Despite the decline, the money held by Pakistani nationals and entities remains above that of Indians, which rose by over 50 per cent to CHF 1,015 million (about Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017 after three consecutive years of decline.

This is the third year in a row that the funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks have exceeded that of Indians.

A number of other major countries also saw their funds falling in Swiss banks amid a global clampdown against the erstwhile banking secrecy walls in the Alpine nation.

However, these official figures disclosed by the SNB do not include the money that the foreign clients of Swiss banks might have kept in the name of shadow entities or shell companies.

Also, these figures do not indicate about the quantum of alleged black money, which has been a matter of a major political debate in various countries, including India and Pakistan.

As per the SNB data, the total funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of CHF 3.43 billion in the year 2001, but has come down considerably since then and has hit the lowest level since 1996, from which this data is available.

However, it rose by 6 per cent and 16 per cent during 2014 and 2015, respectively.

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 the SNB.

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