Swiss Parliament Approves Exchange of Bank Data with 18 Countries Including Pakistan

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Councller (250+ posts)
KARACHI: The Swiss parliament has approved the automatic exchange of bank data with 18 additional countries including Pakistan from 2021.

The Swiss Senate on Tuesday followed the House of Representative’s lead and approved a new batch of countries for automatic exchange of financial information (AEOI) paving the way for the Swiss government to provide details of bank accounts held by their citizens (or those with a fiscal residence in Switzerland).

In return, Switzerland will receive information on banking details of accounts held by Swiss citizens/residents in these partner countries.

The 18 countries are Albania, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Dominica, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macau, Maldives, Nigeria, Niue, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Samoa, Saint Martin, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.

Recently the Swiss authorities revealed that they had provided details of around 3.1 million bank accounts held by foreigners (or those with a fiscal residence abroad) to their countries of origin or residence. In return, it received information on banking details of around 2.4 million accounts held by Swiss citizens/residents in 75 partner countries.

It may be recalled that just about a year ago, Switzerland began to pass on data on the bank accounts held by foreigners in Swiss banks to around 30 countries, with an aim to extend the same to a hundred countries.

It is pertinent to mention here that in Nov 2018, Pakistan and Swiss governments signed an MoU enabling exchange of financial information on bilateral basis which will enable Pakistani authorities to seek Swiss bank account details of Pakistanis, in what was described as a major step ahead in bringing back looted wealth.



The MoU was singned by Special Assistance to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar with Swiss authorities.

A high level delegation led by Shahzad Akbar also negotiated the up-gradation and implementation of automation of exchange of information on bilateral level and also additional protocols and MoUs for expediting Pakistani requests on preferential basis.

The newly ratified treaty will be implemented forthwith and give access to critical financial information.

According to OECD standards, each country is obliged to provide partner countries with data on the financial assets of their taxpayers on a regular basis and without precise request. The financial institutions of each participating country must provide this information to their own country, which is responsible for forwarding it to the tax authorities of the partner countries.

The information includes account and tax identification numbers, surname, first name, address and date of birth of the taxpayer, types of income and account balance. In Switzerland, these data must be collected by around 7,000 financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies and other asset managers.

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Will_Bite

Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Good news, although the likes of Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal who may have opened such bank accounts using their Aqama slavery status may not be captured in this exchange.
Information of all Pak citizens holding accounts in Switzerland will be shared, regardless of whether they were residents in another country or not.

Apart from the obvious financial impact of this move, I also feel this will help Pakistan's cause in FATF. Reason being that one of the criteria Switzerland uses to grant countries access to account information is that the country in question must meet international data security standards and confidentiality requirements.
 
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