Panama Papers: Singapore authorities doing the 'necessary checks'

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Ministry of Finance (MOF) spokespersons have said that they are doing the necessary checks regarding the Panama Papers.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Ministry of Finance (MOF) spokespersons have said that they are doing the necessary checks regarding the Panama Papers.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Government agencies here are reviewing information being reported in connection with the leaked tax documents from a law firm in Panama, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday (April 5) night.

They are also doing the "necessary checks" in connection with the "so-called Panama Papers", said spokespersons from MOF and MAS in a e-mail reply to The Straits Times.

"If there is evidence of wrongdoing by any individual or entity in Singapore, we will not hesitate to take firm action."

Authorities across the world, including France, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands, have started investigations into the massive leak of more than 11.5 million documents. Some other countries including the United States, have said they were looking into the matter.

 
 

Some 72 current and former world leaders were named in a report on Sunday by a global journalist body, after a year-long study of documents leaked from law firm Mossack Fonseca, which handled their offshore deals.

In what is described as the world's biggest insider leak, German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung obtained the data from an anonymous source and shared it with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which reviewed it with some 370 reporters from over 70 nations.

Dubbed the "Panana Papers", the documents have showed possible wrongdoings using offshore firms or bank accounts for purposes such as money laundering and tax evasion.

"Singapore takes a serious view on tax evasion and will not tolerate its business and financial centre being used to facilitate tax related crimes," said the MOF and MAS spokespersons.

"We have put in place a strong legal, tax, and regulatory framework, coupled with a rigorous supervisory regime, to tackle cross-border tax evasion and avoidance."

They added that Singapore is firmly committed to upholding internationally accepted standards for exchange of information.

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, an international body that assesses jurisdictions' implementation of the international standards on tax transparency, has said that Singapore's exchange of information regime is "largely compliant" with the international standard.

This is similar to its assessment of jurisdictions such as the US and Britain, said the spokespersons.