[FoRK] Singapore Seeks Transparency

Eugen Leitl 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.

Not anymore.

Resistance is futile. You *will* be "tax-normalized".

Cheers,
RAH
-------

<http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125266621774402741.html?mod=djemITP#printMode 
>

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  
Denmark.

"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  
holder.

Singapore's financial rival, Hong Kong, is listed by the OECD as among  
economies that "have committed to implement the internationally agreed  
tax standard."

The Hong Kong government said recently it has "stringent and effective  
anti-tax-avoidance legislation" and doesn't have laws protecting bank  
secrecy.
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 -----
-- 
Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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