[FoRK] Singapore Seeks Transparency
eugen at leitl.org
Mon Sep 14 23:30:26 PDT 2009
----- Forwarded message from "R.A. Hettinga" <rah at shipwright.com> -----
From: "R.A. Hettinga" <rah at shipwright.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 18:33:37 -0400
To: cypherpunks at al-qaeda.net,
Gold Silver Crypto <gold-silver-crypto at rayservers.com>
Subject: Singapore Seeks Transparency
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.936)
The anonymity pogrom proceeds apace.
You can run, but you can't hide.
Resistance is futile. You *will* be "tax-normalized".
The Wall Street Journal
SEPTEMBER 14, 2009
Singapore Seeks Transparency
Asian Financial Hub in a Hurry to Get Off Bank Account-Shield List
By COSTAS PARIS
Singapore, an Asian financial center attracting billions of dollars in
offshore accounts, is working quickly to become more transparent and
is on course to be removed by year's end from a list of nations that
shield bank-account information.
Pascal Saint-Amams, head of the international tax cooperation division
at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said
"Singapore is moving fast on a twofold approach."
He said the city-state is "changing its domestic legislation to put an
end to any impediment in the exchange of tax information, and
renegotiating its double-taxation agreements."
The government has renegotiated tax agreements with six OECD countries
and aims to conclude talks with seven others in the coming months. It
is seeking to get off the OECD's "gray list" of countries targeted by
the U.S., France, Germany and others over concerns that their tax laws
could hide tax evaders and money launderers.
"When Singapore reaches the threshold of renegotiating 12 [double-
taxation agreements], it will be removed from the gray list," Mr.
Saint-Amams said from the OECD's Paris headquarters. "It's realistic
to expect this by the end of the year."
Along with several European private-banking banking centers, Singapore
in April found itself on the OECD gray list of 38 countries that had
agreed to improve transparency standards concerning the exchange of
tax information but hadn't implemented the changes.
In the most high-profile case, Switzerland came under pressure from
the OECD and the U.S. to relax its bank-secrecy laws. UBS AG agreed
last month to give the U.S. Internal Revenue Service information on
4,450 accounts that held as much as $18 billion at one time.
Singapore, which manages more than $300 billion of foreign cash, has
amended its tax laws.
Previously, Singapore wouldn't give overseas authorities information
on foreigners' bank-deposit interest or investment gains.
The changes have allowed the government to renegotiate its agreements
with the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and
"We are satisfied with Singapore's progress," Mr. Saint-Amams said.
The Singapore Finance Ministry said the government "has made
substantial progress in implementing the standard" set by the OECD.
However, the city-state hasn't thrown its bank vaults wide open.
Singapore says it will be willing to investigate income that isn't
taxed locally only if there are serious, documented suspicions of tax
evasion and proof that the foreign authority requesting the
information can't get it directly from the foreign investor or deposit
Singapore's financial rival, Hong Kong, is listed by the OECD as among
economies that "have committed to implement the internationally agreed
The Hong Kong government said recently it has "stringent and effective
anti-tax-avoidance legislation" and doesn't have laws protecting bank
One thing helping Singapore is that the home governments of account
holders in the city-state aren't likely to push hard for information.
Most of the money parked in Singapore belongs to wealthy Indonesians,
Malaysians, Chinese and other Asians, private bankers say. "Some of
these people with money here are very influential in their home
countries," said one observer.
----- End forwarded message -----
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