Funds parked by Bangladeshis in Swiss banks drop 7% in 2020

The amount of money deposited by Bangladeshi clients in the banks of Switzerland has dropped by 7 percent year on year in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

By the end of last year, Bangladeshis’ deposits in the banks totalled 562.93 million Swiss francs against 603.02 million Swiss francs in 2019.

In Bangladeshi taka, the Bangladeshis’ deposits in the Swiss banks dropped by Tk 3.7 billion to Tk 52 billion in a year.

The banks in Bangladesh require a minimum of Tk 5 billion in paid-up capital, which means the funds parked in the Swiss banks are equal to more than the minimum paid-up capital of 10 banks.

The secrecy preserved by the Swiss banks and their policy of not asking questions draw a huge number of wealthy customers from around the world. 

The Swiss National Bank, however, publishes the country-wise data every year. The annual report gives a glimpse into how much the rich have deposited their money into the banks.

The report this year comes amid a growing clamour in Bangladesh to identify the people who stash away funds in the highly secretive banks.

The groups working on good governance and prevention of corruption in Bangladesh allege that most of the money parked in the Swiss banks by Bangladeshis are earned illegally and laundered abroad.

Following its failure to recover laundered money from Swiss banks, the government was dragged to the High Court earlier this year.

The court later ordered the authorities to make a list of the Bangladeshis who deposit money in the Swiss banks, and to report on steps to bring the funds back.

The funds deposited by Bangladeshis in the banks of Switzerland crossed 100 million Swiss francs for the first time to 124.3 million Swiss francs in 2006 by the end of the BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami government.

During the 2007-08 military-backed caretaker government, the amount almost doubled to 203 million Swiss francs.

During the current Awami League government, the funds increased gradually to 661.9 million in 2016 from 152.3 million Swiss francs in 2011.

After a drop to 481.3 million Swiss francs in 2017, the funds again rose to 517.7 million Swiss francs in the election year of 2018.

Among Bangladesh’s neighbours, Indians’ deposits in Swiss banks saw a big rise with 2.55 billion Swiss francs stashed, up from 891.9 million Swiss francs.  

Pakistanis’ funds almost doubled to 642.2 million Swiss francs.

US citizens top the list with 377 billion Swiss francs deposited in the banks of Switzerland, followed by Brits who have 152 billion Swiss francs in the banks.

The other countries among the top 10 include the West Indies, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore and Luxemburg.