[FoRK] Singapore Seeks Transparency

Bill Stoddard wgstoddard at gmail.com
Tue Sep 15 08:55:59 PDT 2009

Why is this happening? And why now?


Eugen Leitl wrote:
> ----- 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,
> -------
> <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
> 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 -----

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