The famed place of Switzerland is no longer the preferred destination for Indian offshore wealth but now it is being parked in Asian tax havens including countries of Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Bahrain and Malaysia.
Swiss banks now hold only 31 per cent of Indian wealth, down from 58 per cent in 2007.
In addition to this, there has also been a quantum leap of about 90 per cent in the offshore wealth held by Indians in tax havens to about USD62.9 billion (SGD84.9 billion) from the year 2007 to 2015. This is equivalent to about 3.1 per cent of India’s GDP in 2015, according to the data available of the latest year.
The figures are based on the analysis of data released by Bank of International Settlements (BIS) on bilateral foreign holdings. Economist Gabriel Zucman of UCLA, Annette Alstadster of Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Niels Johannessen of the University of Copenhagen analysed the data and calculated that the total offshore wealth in the world is about USD8.6 trillion, which is about 11.6 per cent of world GDP. However, non-financial assets like real estate and art are not included in these figures.
Much headway has not been made in bringing the much-publicised black money back to India, as people are now parking their wealth in the greener pastures of Hong Kong and Singapore. This is because Switzerland has become more transparent after the Panama Papers Leaks which exposed other tax havens.
Another notable feature of the study has revealed a wide disparity among the countries regarding share of the GDPs taken away in offshore tax havens. Though this is a few per cent for Scandinavian countries, the wealth rises to 15 per cent in Europe and increases to about 60 per cent for Russia and Gulf States.