Switzerland’s government has revealed a dozen dormant Swiss bank accounts that belong to Indians having funds lying with the risk to get liquefied and getting transferred to Switzerland government.
The Swiss government started making details of dormant accounts in 2015, calling the account holders to submit the necessary proof to claim those amounts. Out of all the other claimants, at least 10 accounts belong to Indians. Some of the accounts link to nationals from the British rule era, Pakistan residents, and residents from other countries, including Switzerland itself.
Surprisingly, According to the Swiss Authorities, not even a single Indian has come up to submit the proofs to claim the account for the last six years.
The claim period will get over for some accounts next month while some can claim until the end of 2020.
The number of dormant accounts was 2600 when it was made public in December 2015 which had around 45 million Swiss francs (over ₹300 crores) lying unclaimed since 1955. There were also 80 safety deposit boxes lying unclaimed. Every year, the number of unclaimed accounts increased and has reached 3500.
The Swiss bank has always been in suspicion in India for being used to keep black money. It is also assumed that the people linked to the erstwhile princely states had stashed some funds in banks in Switzerland.
The Global pressure in recent years has compelled Swiss banks to open their banking system for examining from outside the country ad has also entered into an agreement with many countries including India for automatic exchange of information on financial matters.
Under the automatic information exchange information, the first list of details of account holders in India having an account in Switzerland-based financial institutions has been handed over to India recently, and the next batch will be handed over by 2020. Till then Swiss Banking Ombudsman under cooperation from the Swiss Bankers Association will manage the claims from dormant accounts.
Swiss Banking Ombudsman also revealed that at least 2 persons from Kolkata, one from Dehradun, two from Mumbai and of some Indians settled in France and the UK are among the claimants of dormant accounts.
The claim period for the two accounts by the name Leila Talukdar and Prmatha N Talukdar will end by November 15 this year and the assets in the name of Chandralata Pranlal Patel, Mohan Lal, and Kishore Lall can be claimed till December this year.
The two Mumbai residents Rosmarie Bernet and Pierre Vachek; and Chandra Bahadur Singh from Dehradun and Yogeshch Prabhudas Suchah, whose last recorded residence was in London can claim till December next year.
According to the laws of the Swiss bank, the account which is not contacted or accessed for 60 years becomes dormant, and the details of accounts having at least 500 Swiss francs or assets of unknown value are revealed in front of the public to invite claims.
If no one comes to claim the amount in the specified time or if the bank finds claim unjustified, the assets will be liquefied and transferred to the Swiss government. The same rule applies to safe deposit boxes with a value of more than CHF 500 or unknown value.
The usual deadline for the dormant account for submitting the request is one year but for the accounts having the last customer contact in 1954 or before has given a time frame of five years. The original account holder or his/her legal heir can submit the original account.