RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Singapore

Singapore's banks on the look-out vs European tax evaders

Banks in Singapore have been warned since last year against funds being transferred to evade taxation elsewhere.


A spokeswoman for the Monetary Authority of Singapore said the central bank does not tolerate such flows and Singapore was cooperating with other countries to prevent abuse of its financial system.

“MAS does not tolerate any flow of illicit funds through our financial system,” she said in an emailed statement.

“In response to possible tax treaties being signed in Europe, MAS had pre-emptively warned financial institutions in September 2011 to guard against possible inflow of illicit funds arising from such developments.”

She said that last year MAS had announced plans to criminalise the transfer of money into Singapore to evade tax.

UBS, a bank cited in the German media report that started the controversy, has denied advising clients to shift funds in order to avoid detection by tax authorities.

“We have not recorded any increase of invested assets of German clients in Singapore over the last few years,” said a UBS spokeswoman in Singapore.

She said UBS fully supports the German-Swiss tax treaty.

Other major Swiss banks with regional bases in Singapore include Credit Suisse and Julius Baer.

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