Sri Lanka Brief
FeaturesSwiss francs 85m invested in Swiss banks by Sri Lankans last year

Swiss francs 85m invested in Swiss banks by Sri Lankans last year


Investments by Sri Lankan individuals, companies or the Sri Lankan government in secret Swiss accounts totalled more than 85 million Swiss francs (CHF) in 2011 while liabilities listed against Sri Lanka were 44 million in the same year, official data from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) show.

The Swiss franc is higher or equal in value against the US dollar (1CHF = 1.048 US$). SNB is Switzerland’s central bank. However it doesn’t provide details of who owns these assets or liabilities and has listed these data under each country. Swiss secrecy laws protect the identity of the investor/debtor, which is among a host of reasons why much black money or ‘dirty’ money is believed to be stashed by corrupt governments, individuals or businesspersons.

 Assets and liabilities of more than 200 countries are listed from 2002 to 2011, in SNB’s latest 2011 annual report.
 In 2002, Sri Lanka’s assets in all Swiss banks totalled 22.9 million CHF, 2003 – 34.7 million, 2004 – 105.5 million, 2005 – 177.6 million, 2006 – 56.5 million, 2007 – 123.5 million, 2008 – 104.8 million, 2009 – 87.5 million and 2010 – 111.3 million.

 Under this category, most of the investments were made in savings accounts.

 Liabilities were 2002 – 36.3 million, 2003 – 84 million, 2004 – 205.4 million, 2005 – 206.2 million, 2006 – 166.8 million, 2007 – 171.4 million, 2008 – 53.1 million, 2009 – 50.7 million and 2010 – 51.9 million.The figures also showed that Sri Lankan banks had invested CHF 12.3 million, 12.3, 24.2, 78.4, 41.5, 94.1, 60.6, 82.1, 85.7, and 77.7 from 2002 to 2011.

 In comparison, Bangladesh with a larger population (about 150 million) and wealthier per capita group than Sri Lanka had lesser investments.

Its highest asset-year was 2005 – CHF 94.4 million and lowest in 2006 – CHF 22.2 million. Its liabilities were, however, as high as Sri Lanka at CHF 243 million in 2007.

It was unclear to some local bankers who analysed the data as to whether each annual figure reflected a carry-forward amount from the previous year or whether each year was a separate, new investment figure. If it was the latter, investments under Sri Lanka would total 910.3 million (for the past 10 years) while liabilities would total 1.07 billion.

Bankers also questioned as to whether the Central Bank and its Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) is aware of the SNB annual report and whether action is being taken. Central Bank officials were not available for comment.
 Here is the SNB web link with the details of assets and liabilities of all countries:
 By Feizal SamathView(s)

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