These boxes, kept inside the premises of Swiss banks, are also reportedly being used to stash gold, diamond, paintings and art works among other valuables — apparently because of limited risk of being caught by the preying eyes of countries having banking information exchange treaties with Switzerland.
According to industry sources, bankers are telling their rich clients that Switzerland’s tax and information exchange pacts with India and other countries are mostly limited to funds in customers’ savings, deposit and investment accounts, and do not apply to the safe deposit boxes.
As a result, the demand has soared to record high levels for the safe deposit boxes and the 1,000 Swiss franc banknotes in Switzerland, as the world’s rich are rushing to get them. As per the data available with Switzerland’s central bank SNB (Swiss National Bank), the 1000-franc notes now account for 60% of total value of all Swiss banknotes in circulation, up from about 50% a year ago.
SNB confirmed that there was a significant surge in demand for 1000-franc notes and admitted that this could be due to a trend to store the money and a higher demand was being noticed from abroad for these high-value currency notes. SNB did not reply to specific queries about demand from India and said that it did not have any data on deposit boxes.
Just one 1000-franc banknote is worth about Rs 60,000 in Indian currency, making it easier to store large amounts of money in the form of these notes.