No Indonesian public officials linked to StanChart probe on money transfer from Guernsey to Singapore

As the probe over the transfer of US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) between the Guernsey and Singapore offices of Standard Chartered Bank continues, Indonesia's Finance Ministry said there were no Indonesian public officials with links to the illicit tr
As the probe over the transfer of US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) between the Guernsey and Singapore offices of Standard Chartered Bank continues, Indonesia's Finance Ministry said there were no Indonesian public officials with links to the illicit transfer.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - There were no Indonesian public officials, either from the Indonesian military (TNI) or elsewhere in the government, among the 81 individuals with links to the illicit transfer of US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) from Guernsey to Singapore, said Indonesia's Finance Ministry.

The ministry's director-general of tax , Mr Ken Dwijugiasteadi, said during a doorstop interview late on Monday (Oct 9) night that the assets in question were owned by "business people".

Mr Ken also said preliminary findings indicated that the fund transfers were "business transactions" and had no connections to the military.

But he confirmed that 62 of the 81 had in fact taken part in Indonesia's recently completed tax amnesty programme, which ran from July 2016 to March this year.

"Some of the funds were transferred to participate in the tax amnesty, while others were transferred because they wanted to avoid the new information disclosure measures (in Guernsey)," Mr Ken added.

The tax amnesty, introduced with much hype last year, was a part of President Joko Widodo's tax reforms and aimed at recovering billions of dollars in revenue lost to widespread tax evasion and in assets hidden overseas by wealthy citizens and businesses.

Under the scheme, generous tax rates from as low as 2 per cent to 10 per cent were offered, depending on when individuals declared their hidden assets, and whether the funds were repatriated.

The Indonesian authorities are now setting their sights on those who did not participate in the programme and continue to evade taxes.

Mr Ken's remarks were in response to media reports on the transfer of the US$1.4 billion of private bank client assets to Singapore from Guernsey just before new tax transparency rules were introduced in the English Channel isle.

 

These private bank client assets were held in the bank's Guernsey trust unit for mainly Indonesian clients, and were moved in late 2015, reported Bloomberg on Oct 5.

The transfers are now under the scrutiny of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as well as Indonesia's Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).

MAS said it takes a serious view of the transfer between the Guernsey and Singapore offices of Standard Chartered Bank, while The Straits Times understands that senior officials from the PPATK are currently in Singapore working on the case.