Singapore Government agencies reviewing information on leaked papers

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

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

The agencies are also doing the "necessary checks" in connection with the "so-called Panama Papers", said spokesmen for the MOF and MAS in an 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," they said.

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

German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung had obtained the data from an anonymous source and shared it with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which reviewed it with some 370 reporters from over 70 nations.

Dubbed the "Panama Papers", the documents have showed possible wrongdoings by high-profile figures 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 spokesmen.

"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."

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 spokesmen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore Govt agencies reviewing information on leaked papers'. Print Edition | Subscribe