ZURICH: Money kept by Pakistani nationals in Swiss banks fell marginally to CHF (Swiss franc) 1.4 billion (Rs1.55 trillion) in 2016, even as the same from India fell for the third consecutive year to hit a record low.
As per the latest data released on Friday by Switzerland’s central bank SNB (Swiss National Bank), the total funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks stood at CHF 1.41 billion at the end of 2016, down nearly six percent from CHF 1.51 billion a year ago, foreign media reported.
This included funds amounting to CHF 1.38 billion (down from 1.47 billion at 2015-end) held directly by Pakistani nationals and entities and CHF 0.029 billion (down from 0.036 billion) through fiduciaries or wealth managers.
Earlier in 2015, these funds had risen 16 percent from CHF 1.3 billion at 2014-end.
The decline follows two consecutive years of rise in Pakistan-linked funds in Swiss banks, while the same for India has fallen for the third consecutive year now and stood at CHF 0.676 billion at the end of 2016 – a decline of 45 percent.
This is the second time that the funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks have exceeded that of Indians.
A number of other major countries also saw their funds falling in Swiss banks amid a global clampdown against the erstwhile banking secrecy walls in the Alpine nation.
However, these official figures disclosed by SNB do not include the money that the foreign clients of Swiss banks might have kept in the name of shadow entities or shell companies.
Also, these figures do not indicate towards the quantum of alleged black money, which has been a matter of a major political debate in various countries, including India and Pakistan. As per the SNB data, the total funds linked to Pakistan in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of CHF 3.43 billion in 2001 but has come down considerably since then. By 2013, it fell to as low as CHF 1.23 billion, the lowest since 1996 since when this data is available. However, it has risen by six percent and 16 percent during the last two years 2014 and 2015, respectively. As per the SNB data, the total money held in Swiss banks by all their foreign clients from across the world rose from CHF 1.41 trillion (USD 1.45 trillion) to CHF 1.42 trillion (USD 1.48 trillion) in 2016.
The story was originally published in The News