Bern, Switzerland: As India tries to uncover who has stashed untaxed money abroad, Switzerland is, in an unusual deviation from its super-secretive banking rules, releasing the names of people who are being investigated for alleged tax evasion in their countries of origin.
Among the seven Indians named so far by Swiss tax officials is industrialist Yash Birla. His firm said last night that Mr Birla has no "individual bank account in his name or under his control" in Switzerland.
Those being listed online by Swiss officials have not provided addresses that are currently valid. They have 30 days to file a request if they don't want the details of their accounts to be shared; these appeals will be decided by a local court.
"(we are giving) just their names but you don't know why we're asking for them...that's a secret," Patrick Teuscher, spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Tax Administration, told NDTV in Bern.
Last year, India was among the top three countries to ask Switzerland to supply information about citizens who have accounts in Swiss banks.
An investigation by Indian tax officials into undeclared or black money funneled through Swiss accounts is being monitored by the Supreme Court. The inquiry is pivoted on a list, shared by France in 2011 of more than 600 citizens who hold bank accounts at HSBC in Geneva. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other officials have cautioned that some accounts may not be illicit.
The HSBC list for India was part of a huge catalogue of information leaked in 2008 by former bank employee Hervé Falciani. His disclosures have led to HSBC being indicted for facilitating large-scale tax evasion in Belgium, France and even Switzerland, which has said it cannot elaborate on what it describes as "stolen data" .