Dar was wrong about $200bn Pakistani money in Swiss banks: MoF

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Finance (MoF) has refuted the claims of defunct finance minister Ishaq Dar about a huge sum of money being stashed in Swiss banks by Pakistani citizens. During a briefing to Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Monday, Minister of State for Finance Rana Afzal said that the deposits of the huge amount in the Swiss banks could not be confirmed.

Defunct finance minister Ishaq Dar had informed National Assembly that at least $200 billion of “Pakistani money” was stashed away in Swiss banks. In a written reply, Dar had claimed that the government was engaging with the Swiss authorities to get to the money, hidden away by various Pakistani nationals.

While briefing the committee on the negotiation/upgradation of treaty with the Swiss government on Avoidance of Double Taxation to retrieve the money of Pakistani nationals deposited in Swiss banks, Rana Afzal said that no Swiss government official endorsed Dar’s claim.

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The representative of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed the committee that Pakistan has signed an agreement with Switzerland on exchange of information regarding bank accounts. The implementation on the agreement has started from January 1, 2018. “As per the agreement both countries will be able to share information about bank accounts from January 2018 onward,” said the FBR’s representative.

As per the agreement, the two countries will give access to accounts already under investigation. However, access to information about every account of Pakistani in Switzerland will not be possible under this agreement. In reply, Senator Ilyas Bilour said that “since Pakistan could not get information about old cases under the agreement the entire exercise is useless”.

Committee’s Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, who chaired the meeting, said that FBR has shared what it has done so far to probe into Dar’s claim.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at ghulam.abbas@pakistantoday.com.pk
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