Black money: Six Indians on list as Switzerland makes public 2,600 dormant a/c

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New Delhi: At least six individuals from India figured among the list of 2,600 dormant accounts which were made public by Switzerland for the first time on Wednesday.

Of the six, the residence of four has been mentioned as India, Paris (France) for one. However, the place of residence of the sixth person has not been mentioned.

The interesting part, however, is that three of the ‘Indians’ appeared to be of foreign origin, namely, Pierre Vachek, Charlotte Spencer and
Rosmarie Bernet, all of whom have been mentioned as residents of ‘Bombay’.

Bahadur Chandra Singh has been mentioned as resident of Dehradun, Dr Mohan Lal from Paris but no resident has been mentioned for Kishore Lall.

The dates of birth have also been disclosed in some cases, while nationality of Spencer has been shown as German.

The relatives and heirs of these persons will have 1-5 years to submit their claims for these accounts, the Swiss Banking Ombudsman and the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) said.

On Wednesday, Switzerland made public for the first time the list of unclaimed bank accounts which contains over 2,600 accounts and 80 safe deposit boxes.

The total holding in these accounts is estimated at about 44 million Swiss franc (about Rs 300 crore), but the specific figure for the accounts of people from India was not disclosed.

This is the first time that Switzerland has published such a list that is aimed at giving their owners’ heirs a chance to claim the funds in these accounts. Only those accounts form part of this list which have got at least 500 Swiss francs and have remained unclaimed at least 60 years.

The list contains a large number of people from Switzerland itself, as also from Germany, France, the UK, the US, Turkey, Austria and various other countries.

The list follows a new law in Switzerland that mandates publication of the names of the owners of very old dormant customer relationships on an annual basis starting 2015.

“If no legitimate party claims the assets that have been published within one year of publication, the banks must by law transfer the assets in question to the government,” SBA said.

The claim deadline for potential legitimate claimants is five years if the assets in question have been dormant since at least 1954.

“The number of names published in December 2015 is just over 2,600; connected to these names, there are currently assets of around CHF 44 millions. Additionally, around 80 safe-deposit boxes are currently published,” SBA said.

Claude-Alain Margelisch, CEO of the Swiss Bankers Association, said: “By publishing this information, the banks are making a last attempt to re-establish contact with the customers.

“This publication gives customers and their legal heirs another opportunity to assert their claims to dormant assets before the banks transfer these definitively to the government. For the banks, on the other hand, these new regulations create legal certainty for the treatment of dormant assets.”

Every year, from 2016 onwards, the names of dormant assets relating to an annual period subsequent to 1955 will be published.

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