The Singapore government’s investment arm, GIC Pte Ltd, as well as local banks OCBS and DBS have been implicated by independent reporters in what’s been dubbed the world’s biggest leak on entities that could be evading taxes by means of offshore accounts – the Panama Papers leak.
As part of their investigations, the ICIJ has released its findings online for the public to track companies which have started offshore accounts in connection with the Panama Papers leak.
The database contains nearly 40 years of archives of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that specialises in creating and running offshore entities, includes records on thousands of Singapore-linked entities.
Singapore files show 5,869 offshore entities, 6,116 officers, 1,315 intermediaries and 5,728 addresses.
This, out of the 200,000 offshore entities set up by wealthy individuals around the world.
However, the ICIJ itself made it clear that there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts, and that those included in the database might not have acted improperly or broken laws.
Local banks OCBC and DBS have also been included in the leaked database.
OCBC Bank’s head of corporate communications, Ms Koh Ching Ching, has stressed that Bank of Singapore “exercises stringent screening controls to ensure compliance with both internal and regulatory requirements, including anti-money laundering and tax evasion laws” before taking on clients.
Meanwhile, a DBS spokesman said that “With regard to offshore or trust structures, the law obliges us to take steps to identify ultimate beneficial owners and we do not support the use of concealment techniques.”
Authorities say they are looking into the latest leaks and will take action if any Singaporean named in the cache is found guilty of wrongdoing.