In a big win in the battle against black money, India has received the first tranche of details about financial accounts of its residents in Swiss banks under the automatic information exchange framework, the Switzerland government said on Monday.

An unidentified spokesperson of the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) told reporters that India was among the 75 countries with which Switzerland has exchanged information on financial accounts.

The automatic exchange of information (AEOI) programme facilitates the exchange of information on financial accounts that are presently active as well as those accounts that were closed during 2018. The next exchange would happen in September 2020.

According to the international deal, the exchanges need to happen “within nine months after the end of the respective calendar year”, which equates to September next year, the spokesperson of the FTA said.

The information exchange is being done under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the global reporting standard for exchange of such information, which handles aspects of confidentiality rules and data safeguards.

The deal on information-sharing about bank accounts was signed in 2016 between India and was said to take effect from January 2018.

This marks the first time when India has received the financial information of bank accounts by Indian clients in Switzerland for 2018 and subsequent years. However, details of Swiss bank accounts held prior to 2018 were not revealed to India. Other given information is governed by strict confidentiality clauses.

FTA officials also refused to disclose specific details on the number of accounts or about the total financial assets associated with Indian clients of Swiss banks.

The information given by Switzerland authorities includes names, addresses, and tax identification numbers as well as details about the financial institution, account balance and capital income.

Experts said the information received by India can be useful to establish a strong prosecution case against those Indians who have parked away their unaccounted wealth in Swiss bank accounts, leveraging the benefits of strict local rules of secrecy.

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