Bangladeshis’ Deposits in Swiss Banks Decline

Money deposited by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks dropped marginally in 2019, according to the latest statistics published in Zurich on Thursday.

The annual report of the Swiss National Bank or SNB called 'Banks in Switzerland 2019' shows that the money owned by Bangladeshi citizens and companies amounted to CHF 613.27 million last year, down 1.49 percent from CHF 622.55 in 2018.

The funds are defined by the Swiss Central Bank as 'liabilities' of Swiss banks.

The conversion to local currency (average CHF 1 = Tk 89.30) revealed that Bangladesh-linked funds in the Swiss banking system exceeded Tk 54.76 billion in 2019, down from Tk 55.59 billion in the previous year.

The figure includes the amount that fiduciaries or wealth managers invest in. For these, BD-linked money worth about CHF 10.24 million (Tk 914.60 million) was invested by trustees, which contributed to CHF 4.83 (Tk 432.29 million) in 2018.

Nevertheless, the figures of the SNB do not mention much regarding the origin of the currency, either stashed or black currency or unlawfully exchanged property, since a substantial portion of the cash kept by Swiss banks is considered to be either stashed from foreign countries or black money.

The official statistics released by SNB also does not include the money that any Bangladesh-linked client of the Swiss banks might have deposited and kept in the name of shadow entities or shell companies.

Meanwhile, the total funds, held by all foreign clients of the Swiss banks, increased by around 3.0 percent to CHF 1.44 trillion in the past year from 1.39 trillion in 2018.

In comparison, Indian capital in Swiss banks declined from CHF 954.73 million in 2018 to CHF 899.46 million (including investment funds) in the last year.

Pakistani capital in Swiss banks has decreased dramatically by 45 percent to CHF 410.22 million in 2019, which was CHF 745.27 million in the previous year.

The general scheme guarantees the full anonymity of depositors of Swiss banks, which has become one of the biggest tax shelters in the world.

In the past two years, the Swiss government has come under pressure to relax financial controls and exchange depositors' knowledge with governments around the globe.

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