Davos: With Switzerland refusing to share information based on stolen data, India will provide independent evidence on black money account holders, its alternate but not preferred position, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.
Mr Jaitley was speaking to NDTV on the sidelines of the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, after a 40-minute meeting with his Swiss counterpart, where they discussed how Switzerland can provide details on unaccounted money parked in bank accounts in that country by Indians.
The finance minister said the Swiss authorities have made it clear to India that they will not cooperate or exchange any information based on stolen data. If, however, India can provide credible, independent evidence of investigations back home, then Switzerland will cooperate.
Mr Jaitley said "good progress" was being made between the two countries and that India has understood better the parameters of the "independent evidence" Switzerland is looking for after his meeting with the Swiss finance minister.
"Tax officials are working around the clock to finish assessments and collect evidence. Several people have admitted to having accounts. Now we have to come back to the Swiss with this material based on which their attitude has been positive towards extending cooperation," Mr Jaitley said.
Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer Schlumpf told NDTV, "It was a very good meeting. We did a few good steps now and I'm confident that we can come to a good end in our negotiations with India now." She said Switzerland is "planning to go on with the automatic exchange of information and I think at that time we will have a good legal basis to answer to more requests."
Mr Jaitley said the global community is moving towards automatic exchange of information.
"Earlier the concept was that one could stack their money into the tax haven and nobody would be able to break into that secrecy. Switzerland has been evolving its position all these years and therefore they have started cooperating with various states' Mr Jaitley said.
In October last year, India and Switzerland had signed a joint statement of understanding with regard to cooperation on tax matters.