|Singapore is safe, they said|
An alleged recording of a conversation between Cahuzac and his wealth manager in 2000 about his embarrassment is telling: "What bothers me is that I still have an account open with UBS … UBS is not necessarily the most hidden of banks." It would appear that he has more confidence in Singapore's growing international reputation for discretion of the unsavoury kind. Cahuzac has resigned after being placed under formal investigation for tax fraud and money laundering.
The Paris public prosecutor's office said in a statement: "The investigations carried out as part of the preliminary inquiry must continue from now in a more appropriate form." The opening of an official inquiry would enable an examining magistrate to officially request information from Switzerland and Singapore.
Meanwhile the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has responded strongly to the Global Witness film on corruption in Sarawak, denying allegations of banks here playing safe haven for ill gotten wealth, "Contrary to what was claimed in the video, Singapore has to date provided fully the information requested by Malaysia for tax purposes." That could mean, if Malaysia didn't ask, MAS wouldn't tell. And the request had to be specific, queries about Alvin Chong's mechanism to allow foreign investors to circumvent existing company laws may not be entertained i.e. no fishing expedition. Presumably, the French detectives will have do their homework too, before being extended unfettered cooperation by local authorities.
Recently Lee Kuan Yew told some 600 people at the Shangri-La Hotel dialogue moderated by Standard Chartered Bank's group CEO Peter Sands that Singapore's role as a financial centre is secure for now, "It would be very stupid of us to shake this confidence." The last thing the 89-year-old would like to do is to issue another "I stand corrected" statement.