HC Deb 07 November 1966 vol 735 cc965-6
28. Mr. Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations he has made or proposes to make to the Swiss authorities in Zürich and Geneva to trace the missing money belonging to Sempah (Holdings) Limited which has disappeared there.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Walter Padley)

None, Sir. But, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer informed the House on 18th October [Vol 734, c. 14], the affairs of Sempah Holdings are at present the subject of a police inquiry. If, in the course of this inquiry, it becomes necessary to seek the co-operation of any foreign Government, we shall naturally request it.

Mr. Grant

Is the Minister of State aware that vast sums of money are being mulcted from companies in the City of London through European, and particularly Swiss, sources, and that Interpol is not working satisfactorily in the circumstances? Will he use every endeavour he can through diplomatic sources to get better co-operation with European countries?

Mr. Padley

That raises the question of the system of bank accounts in Switzerland, which is a matter of internal policy of the Swiss Government in which Her Majesty's Government could not interfere. And the question about the exchange control system should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.