New Delhi: The crack in the secrecy shield of Swiss banks - known for fiercely guarding the identity of customers - will help banks across the world, feels ICICI Bank CEO and managing director Chanda Kochhar.
Asked about top Swiss bank UBS AG, reeling under criticism for sheltering American tax evaders, agreeing to US government’s demand for disclosure, Kochhar generally hedged queries saying Indian banks were not in that kind of business.
“Why us... in a general term it will help bankers in all countries,” she told the agency to a question on whether the Indian banking system would benefit because of the cracks in the secrecy shield of the Swiss banking system.
The United States’ Internal Revenue Service reached an understanding with the Swiss government under which it was agreed UBS AG would turn over the identity of 4,450 account holders, who Washington suspects of stashing away billions of dollars to evade taxes.
On whether she finds it ethical that a bank like UBS AG should disclose customers’ identity, Kochhar said: “I don’t know how that business runs, because we are not in that at all. The bank that runs that business should decide.”
Black money had become a major issue in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls in April-May, with BJP leader L K Advani claiming that $500 billion of Indian money was stashed in banks abroad.
Asked if ICICI Bank has done a study on black money in the country, Kochhar said: “We haven’t done a study really for me to be able to put a number.
“But yes, the more of it gets converted into the real economy, the multiplier effect of it can be more. That is true.”