Return of $200B in Swiss Banks

Swiss_money.jpgThere is $200 Billion of Pakistani money stashed in Swiss Banks. This was revealed by Mr Ishaq Dar, in response to my question in the National Assembly on 9th May 2014. Panama Papers have disclosed more information on Pak money taken abroad as fruits of tax evasion, fraud, commissions, drugs & narcotics dealings and other crime proceeds. But the government has not been serious and has not made any efforts to bring illegal wealth back to Pakistan.

Mr Ishaq Dar has been denying his statement of 2014 ever since and did so again in National Assembly during this budget session. I challenged him and read his statement verbatim in the NA from NA record. It is being reproduced below:

'One of the directors of Credit Suisse AG stated on the record that $97 billion worth of Pakistani capital was deposited only in his bank. Similarly, Micheline Calmy-Rey, a former Swiss foreign minister, is reported to have put the amount of Pakistani money hidden in Switzerland at $200 billion — a statement that was never contradicted. I believe these figures were correct. The situation calls for immediate corrective action. To put the enormity of this find into perspective, Pakistan’s total external debt stands at $150 billion and its gross domestic product is said to be around $300 billion. The country can, theoretically, pay off all its debt with the money in Swiss banks and still have nearly a quarter of it left over'. (also see my report http://www.na250.com/200_billion_in_swiss_banks)

Since May 2014 the government has made no efforts to bring this illegally stashed Swiss money back to Pakistan despite my repeated requests.  The result is that the Swiss 'Foreign Illicit Assets Act' as passed in 2010 has been modified in December 2015 making it a little more difficult for us to get our wealth back to Pakistan. However the issue is far from closed and even within the new law there is ample opportunity to work with them.  This is typical of corrupt governments, to delay matters until either it is beyond reach (Zardari Swiss Cotecna case) or that the public loses interest, which they are hoping to happen in Panama Papers.

I must have spoken since May 2014 at least ten times for Pak Govt to take action under the Swiss Foreign Assets Act (FIAA) 2010, none was taken. It is futile to cry over spilt milk, so I am reproducing the new FIAA Act 2015 that was passed by a referendum in Switzerland and was promulgated in Dec 2015.  The following articles of the law are still offering good possibility of return of assets.

  1. Article 2 which defines who are politically exposed persons whose accounts/assets can be frozen and restituted to Pakistan.
  2. Article 3 describes policy on freezing of assets within the framework of 'Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA)'.
  3. Article 4 is ability to freeze in cases where MLA fails because of non-pursuance or failure of our own laws.
  4. Article 15 is the strongest clause where the burden of proof, that the asset has not been illegally acquired is on the owner rather than the government of Pakistan. (See text of law in link below)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/316751172/Swiss-Act-2015-on-Illicit-Wealth

There is a lot that can be done still. The new law has made it difficult but not impossible to get our wealth back.  Despite my questioning Mr Ishaq Dar, he did not respond convincingly regarding what the govt is doing in this regard except excuses that negotiations with Swiss Govt is taking place on broader issues of double taxation etc, and only after that is completed we can proceed on illegal assets.  I am totally dissatisfied with this response and am suspicious that the matters are being delayed with the hope that all will be forgotten.

 


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