Rs 300 Crore Lying Unclaimed in India-Linked Dormant Swiss Bank Accounts

At least six persons having links with India figure on a list of over 3,500 Swiss bank accounts that have been lying dormant.


About Rs 300 crore of Indian money is lying unclaimed in dormant accounts in Swiss banks, PTI reported. At least six persons having links with India figure on a list of more than 3,500 Swiss bank accounts that have been lying dormant, with no trace of owners, since the Switzerland Banking Ombudsman first released the details in December 2015.

Of these account-holders, at least three individuals are from India and three others are Indian-origin residents of other countries. The six accounts belong to Pierre Vachek and Bernet Rosmarie from Bombay (now Mumbai), Bahadur Chandra Singh from Dehradun, Dr Mohan Lal from Paris and Suchah Yogesch Prabhudas from London. The place of residence of the sixth individual, Kishore Lall, was not disclosed. The date of birth, disclosed only in one case, was mentioned as Jan. 1, 1908 for Vachek, the report added.

These accounts, added to the list in December 2015, would continue to feature on it until 2020 unless a successful claim is made for the amount.

The list includes several individuals from Switzerland itself, and also from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey, Austria, and Pakistan. It aims to give the rightful owners or heirs of the account an opportunity to claim the amount.

The Banking Ombudsman began releasing information about the dormant assets after a new legislation came into place in January 2015, according to which banks must publish assets, for which the last contact to the customer dates back 60 years and more, on an electronic platform. If, after publication of the details, no contact is established with the customer for another year, the assets are then transferred to the federal government. For older assets that have already been dormant for more than 50 years when the new regulation came into force, the period is five years.

The list includes only those accounts that have a value exceeding 500 Swiss francs and have remained unclaimed for at least 60 years.

According to the guidelines, the banks must publish these assets on the website at least once annually.

While 40 accounts and two safe deposits were successfully claimed in 2017 alone, those linked to Indian individuals have not received any claim so far, the report added.

Swiss bank accounts are often associated with illegal stashing of wealth in India. A political furore arose in the country last month after latest data released by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the central banking authority of Switzerland, showed that the amount of money deposited by Indians in bank accounts in Switzerland increased by over 50 percent to reach Swiss Franc (CHF) 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017.

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