Defamation Funds Update 18: I Still Have to Pay the Prime Minister S$149,800

I just made the second installment for the defamation suit. Drew and Napier – the prime minister’s lawyers – sent me the receipt of acknowledgement yesterday.

I still have to pay the prime minister S$149,800.

As a background, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister in May 2014 in relation to an article that I had written on Singaporeans’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) pension funds. I then lost my job for political reasons and was charged in relation to a protest.

I was asked to pay a total of S$180,000 to the prime minister. S$30,000 (for the costs) has been paid in March 2016. And I have made two installment payments.

I have to pay monthly installments to the prime minister for the next 17 years, until 2033.

Funds Raised to Date

To update on the funds raised, I have received S$120 via my POSB bank account (130-23068-7 Ngerng Yi Ling) since the last update.

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I have also received another S$50 via PayPal (royngerng@gmail.com).

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A few days ago, some customers at my dad’s stall also passed him some funds – a total of S$400. My dad said that an uncle and his wife passed S$150. Three friends gave S$100, S$50 and S$50. Also, a young couple gave S$50.

Three supporters also passed me S$50, S$30 and S$10 at the third Bukit Batok by-election rally that SDP held – a total of S$90.

In total, S$30,710.71 has been raised. Thank you for your support. I am grateful.

Thank You for Your Support for the Fund Raising

Thus far, a total of $$30,710.71 has been raised. I still have to pay another S$149,800 to the prime minister.

If you would also like to help to defray the costs and damages, you can also fund raise to the bank account at POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling) or PayPal at royngerng@gmail.com. Thank you.

My dad sells carrot cake at Block 107 in Ang Mo Kio. Some people had visited my dad’s stall to pass him some contributions. Dad’s stall is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from about 4pm to about 11pm/midnight.

The funds coming in have slowed down. But for transparency, I will continue to update on the funds raised and used, on this blog.

Meanwhile, I have also attached my LinkedIn profile here, if it might be of interest. I was fired after I was sued – the hospital that I worked at and the Ministry of Health, Singapore sent out press releases to support the firing, with the hospital alluding to the defamation suit.

If you have a job opening, scholarship or fellowship, please feel free to contact me on the opportunities. I would be grateful if you do so. I am open to working overseas as well.

View Roy Ngerng's profile on LinkedIn

View Roy Ngerng's LinkedIn profile View Roy Ngerng’s profile

*****

Background: In 2014, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for defamation. The judge ruled in a summary judgment that I have defamed him. I have apologised to the prime minister. I was ordered to pay damages of S$150,000 to him. In a settlement reached with the help of my lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, I am to pay an additional S$30,000 in costs. In total, including the previous payment that I have made to the costs of the summary judgment (S$29,000) and application for the Queen’s Counsel (S$6,000), I would have paid/will pay S$215,000. 

I have paid the first tranche of S$30,000 (of the S$180,000) to the prime minister. From April 1, 2016, for the next 5 years, I have to pay $100 every month. Thereafter, from 2021, I have to pay $1,000 every month until I finish paying.

You can read the previous updates here: [One] [Two] [Three] [Four] [Five] [Six] [Seven] [Eight] [Nine] [Ten] [Eleven] [Twelve] [Thirteen] [Fourteen] [Fifteen] [Sixteen] [Seventeen]. I would like to thank Mothership.sg for reporting about the fund raising. 

I would also like to thank the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Safenet for releasing statements in support of me, as well as iMediaEthicsHong Kong Free Press and Norway’s NRK (here and here) for interviewing me.

You can also read the previous update on the funds raised in 2014 and its usage. I would like to thank The Straits Times for reporting about it. There were also inaccurate online reports that the funds were used to pay overseas trips. This is untrue. You can read more about these in the update here.

[Submit Your Photos] I Believe in Chee Soon Juan

I believe in Chee Soon Juan.

Today is Cooling Off Day. Dr Chee has stood up for Singaporeans. Let us back him up too.

If you would like, upload a photo of yourself on Facebook in support of Dr Chee and tag me, or you can send it to me via Facebook or at my email at royngerng@gmail.com.

I am thinking if there are enough photos, to compile them and upload as a Facebook album and on my blog tonight.

If you have a message to Dr Chee or Singaporeans, send it to me as well and I will post them with your photos.

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When I first read about Singaporeans who were sued, charged or detained on fabricated charges by the PAP, I did not think to much about it.

Like most Singaporeans, I was concerned about bread and butter issues. I was concerned about the cost of living, about whether I can pay for my hospital bills, afford to further my studies or to be able to save enough to retire.

It was only when I was persecuted and charged later that I understood what it meant.

When you are the one to face such attacks, you live each day listening to the lies they say about you.

All of a sudden, I was “deranged” and a “troublemaker”. I was labelled terms which are not who I am.

When I wrote the articles on my blog, it was because I wanted a better Singapore, and a more equal society where our people would be taken care of.

So I was shocked when month after month, the government and state media turned against me and falsified my character.

It was not easy. How to you live with the untruths that people say about you?

Some of you would understand when rumours or gossips were spread about you. Already, it was hard for you to deal with.

Imagine that multiplied several times on a national level.

At times, I became depressed.

But you keep telling yourself to remember who you are and what you really set up to do. You keep picking yourself up and focusing on the goodness of why you do what you do.

And this is why I admire Dr Chee. I spent 2 years and it has already been a tedious journey.

He spent more than 20 years and all this time, having to be strong for his family, wife and children. And all this time, teaching his children the right values.

None of us can understand the pain and hardship that he has to go through except maybe great men and women like Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

It was only when the government kept attacking me that I realised that the government does not want me to talk about social issues in Singapore and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) – because if I kept exposing the problems in Singapore, the government would have to deal with them.

For a government where profits and high salaries matter to themselves, to increase wages for the people and increase expenditure on health and education, and retirement for Singaporeans, mean lesser for themselves. Why would they do that?

This is why they wanted to persecute me.

Someone told me – you exposed them and threatened their wealth. Of course they would come after you.

But I told her, they took our money and our CPF to use without telling Singaporeans. It is they who are wrong. Shouldn’t I write about it?

In Singapore, it is a constant struggle to want to be true to yourself and to be honest, or to suppress your feelings out of fear.

I chose to be true.

So has Dr Chee.

He gave up the career he could have in America to fight for a Singapore he believes in – one which Singaporeans can live in justice and equality.

How many of us dare to do that? Or are willing to do that?

It has not been an easy road for Dr Chee. But he persevered.

But he believes. In a new vision. In Singaporeans.

We might not have the gumption or strength that Dr Chee has. But the least we can do is to admire the grit and courage that he has.

It is because of Dr Chee that right now, we still can hope for a different future.

It is because of Dr Chee that today we can hope that this by-election will bring us a new hope and a new future.

Dr Chee believes that one day things will get better for Singapore and Singaporeans.

Dr Chee trusts in Singaporeans.

And for this, he has my confidence.

I believe in Dr Chee.

I believe in the vision he has for Singapore. I believe in the hopes and dreams he has for Singaporeans.

I believe that he will fight for Singaporeans, as he has.

In him, I trust.

In him, I have hope.

In him, I dare to dream again.

I believe in Chee Soon Juan.

[PHOTOS] SDP’s By-Election Rally: Faces of Singaporeans

Singapore will be holding a by-election at the Bukit Batok constituency this Saturday. The opposition candidate contesting from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) is Dr Chee Soon Juan.

Dr Chee Soon Juan has been fighting for Singaporeans for the past more than 20 years. The ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), for the past 50 years made him lose his job and in spite of offers from American universities to teach there, Dr Chee chose to remain in Singapore to fight for Singaporeans.

The PAP had once invited Dr Chee to join them but Dr Chee declined because he believed in a more progressive and equal Singapore.

The PAP today has been running a smear campaign against Dr Chee Soon Juan. A petition started by actress Neo Swee Lin and a group of activists, lawyers and other artists, and signed by thousands of Singaporeans, say that they “do not condone the personal attacks and character assassination made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, against Dr Chee Soon Juan of the SDP”. Ex-prime minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin have also waded in with their remarks against Dr Chee.

“We are deeply saddened at the manner in which the campaign is run, having deteriorated to a level that undermines our Singaporean values. It is indeed a sad state of affairs when people who have been entrusted with positions of power and leadership perpetuate such unbecoming behaviour,” the petition also says.

I have signed the petition. You can sign the petition here too.

Neo Swee Lin also spoke at SDP’s rally on Tuesday. She said: “In a perfect future, we will have a true democracy in Singapore, with more balanced views represented in parliament.”

She also said: “Residents of Bukit Batok, I envy you. You are so lucky. You have a chance to vote for Dr Chee Soon Juan this time. I urge you, Bukit Batok residents, please vote for Dr Chee so that he can be our voice in parliament. So he can be an alternative voice, someone who will ask all the questions that we want to hear. He will be your full time MP. What more can you ask for, right?”

I was at the rally to take photos. You can see some of the photos here.

These are the volunteers who work tirelessly with the Singapore Democratic Party.

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Here’s Dr Wong Souk Yee, who wrote the book, ‘Death of a Perm Sec’. She also ran in the 2015 general election with the SDP in the Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency  (GRC).

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This is one of the audience members who came very early for the rally and who quickly smiled for me.

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An elderly man also came with his wife (below). 

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You can see the look of confidence in this man’s eyes. 

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Speaking was Neo Swee Lin (or more affectionately known as “Ah Ma” in Phua Chua Kang).

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A sign language interpreter was at the rally to interpret the speeches for a group of people.

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The people who hold a torch for Dr Chee.

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The people who listen intently to him.

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And the Singaporeans who clap for Dr Chee.

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And our very own Dr Chee Soon Juan.

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#NowIsTheTime

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You can see more of the photos at my album on Facebook here.

SDP has also come out with several policy papers on healthcare, education, housing, ministerial salaries, their town council plan and for the Malay community, among others. You can read more about the policy papers here. Dr Chee has said that he will debate on these policies when he is voted into parliament.

SDP’s next rally will be held today at 7pm at the open field along the Bukit Batok Industrial Park A (behind the Bukit Batok Swimming Complex).

The Foxes’ Animal Farm (2016)

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Once upon a time, two hundred years ago, some lions decided to set up a farm. They sent out a notice to invite all the animals of the land to come and settle at the farm.

When the lions came, there were already some chickens on the land. The lions were tempted to eat them but it decided that it needed workers on its farm, and it needed to attract other animals to the farm, so it decided to keep the chickens.

The lion signed a treaty with the chickens that it would not eat the chickens as long as the chickens would give a portion of the eggs they lay to the lions for food.

Soon, foxes from the neighbouring towns of Macca and Penan also came to the farm to work.

The foxes were sly and quick-witted. The foxes were bright red in colour and they travelled in red junk boats to the farm. They brought with them red poppy and wanted to grow poppy farms.

They started growing poppy in a small corner of the farm but soon, more foxes were coming to the farm and the poppy business became lucrative. The lions who ruled the farm saw how money could be made and started collecting rent from the foxes on where the red poppies grow.

The foxes were unhappy but they grudging paid. But the foxes knew that if they did not want to pay, then they had to do something.

One day, the most influential fox went up the the head lion and told the lion that the foxes could help the lion control the chickens. Both the lions and foxes ate only meat and the chickens were afraid of them. The lions thought that it was a brilliant plan and made the foxes commissioners to set rules on the farm.

Very soon, the foxes grew very rich. They had many chickens working on their poppy fields. Horses, pigs and sheep from far and wide also came to work at the farm. The wolves and dogs also came.

The foxes also found some precious metals in the ground and realised they could make rubber from trees. With the new discovery, they wanted to expand their business to also ship the red poppy, metal and rubber to the other farms.

But the foxes needed more money and went to the lions for help. The lions were operating banks but they did not trust the foxes and would not lend money to the foxes to help them.

Spurred, the foxes decided that they had to set up their own banks. The foxes set up one bank, then another, and another. The banks were bringing in money. Seeing how successful the foxes were, the wolves and dogs also set up their own banks but theirs never grew as big as the foxes’.

But one day, drought hit the farm. The lions and foxes lost money as the farm could not produce enough things to sell. The foxes decided to merge their banks into one and they survived.

All was well for a while. The foxes continued to vy for power and expand their businesses.

Word soon came that the foxes in a nearby farm were fighting the elephants. The elephants had invaded that farm. The foxes in the lion’s farm started raising funds to support the foxes in the other farm in their fight. This made the elephants unhappy and they held a grudge.

So one day, the elephants also came to the lion’s farm. They started trampling all over the farm. The elephants were too big. They ran into the lion’s den and used their tusks to haul the lions up and throw them into the mud ditch. The lions were stuck and were held prisoners.

The elephants then turned against the foxes and started crushing the foxes beneath their feet. They also pushed some of the foxes to the mud ditch. Some of the foxes died. This scared the other foxes very much.

A group of foxes went to the elephants and told them that the foxes would do anything the elephants wanted, in exchange for their lives. The elephants also needed money so they agreed and let these foxes continue to operate their banks.

A few years later, the tide turned and the river washed away the mud. The lions were freed and chased the elephants away.

Meanwhile, the foxes decided that they were doing alright by themselves and decided that they did not need the lions to support them. The foxes in the other farms had also started taking over their farms.

The lions knew what was coming and decided that the wise thing to do was to slowly let the foxes take over and leave.

In the neighbouring farm, there were some tigers which continued to live with the foxes. The lion’s farm – now the foxes’ farm – wanted to merge with the foxes in the neighbouring farm so that they can expand their banks and business.

But the tiger was too smart for them. It kicked the foxes out.

That was 50 years ago.

The head fox felt that since he could not rule the tiger’s farm anyway, he was more than happy to be ruler of his own farm. He pretended that he was sad to leave and shed crocodile tears. But truth was, the head fox was overjoyed – the sly and willy one.

But he had a smart fox wife – whose extended family was controlling the banks. Without the fox wife, the head fox would be nothing.

He knew he had to do something.

When the head fox first ruled the farm, he had gotten the dogs on his side, so that he could convince the other animals to support him.

He said that all animals would be equal.

But the dogs knew the foxes were sly and would never keep to their word, so they decided to split from the foxes. The dogs wanted the animals to choose between the foxes and the dogs to rule the farm.

But the head fox was having none of it. He threw the dogs into the mud ditch. He also took some wolves, chickens, horses and pigs and threw them inside, to set an example.

But what did we do?, the animals shouted in unison.

The head fox barked at them – you are conspirators!

The animals were stunned. They did not know what they did to invite such anger. Didn’t the fox said that all animals would be equal under his rule?

But unbeknownst to the animals, it was power and control that the head fox wanted. He was not going to let go of it so easily. So he kept them in the mud ditch until they decided to do his bidding.

But it wouldn’t be the first time he sent the animals to the mud ditch. Everytime he became insecure with his power, he would fabricate stories t find a reason to throw the animals into the mud ditch.

Later, the head fox set up his own bank and made his friends the owners of the bank. He was afraid that the bank of his fox wife’s family would not support him. And wanted to set up his own to have control.

He then set up two holding banks and made all the animals on the farm give their produce to his banks to own. The animals had no choice. They would otherwise be eaten up.

But the head fox was still wary of the wolves and dogs who had their own banks. So the head fox went up to the wolves. Without a word, the wolves bowed to the head fox and said they would do anything he wanted.

And the head fox went to the dogs. But the dogs barked and chased him away. Angered, the head fox decided to use his own bank to buy over the dogs’ bank.

But the dogs would not go down without a fight. They ran to the wolves and begged the wolves to take them in. Taking pity on them, the wolves took over the dogs’ bank instead.

The head fox let it go on the account of the wolves’ loyalty to it. But he stripped some dogs of their residency. Without a place to stay, some dogs had to leave.

With everything in his control, the head fox started asking all the animals to give him 50 percent of their produce into his Central Produce Farm.

Again, the animals had no choice. They were too scared to do anything. They did not want to be thrown into the mud ditch.

But the head fox was not satisfied. To secure his foothold on the farm, he decided that he had to bring his son into the fold. The head fox put his own relatives into key positions of power and made his son the deputy head fox.

The head fox then made the animals give more of their produce to him so that he could pay higher salaries to the fox ministers.

There was to be no end in sight for the animals.

Disgusted, one animal asked, “where is our money?” And in one blow, the head fox put the sledgehammer down and took the animal’s money all away. And then another animal. And another.

That will teach him to speak up, the head fox thought to himself.

But the foxes’ desire to make more money got into their heads. They controlled the banks. They ruled the land.

They also controlled the rents. They decided to make the animals pay more for the land. And the barn the land sat on.

But the foxes were still not contended. They wanted to earn more profits. They decided that they could bring in rats to work on the farm. The rats were known to be cheap and fast. So the foxes brought them in.

But the rats started stealing the animals’ produce. They took the chicken’s eggs. And they razed the grass the horses ate.

Sensing their livelihoods at stake, the animals protested to the foxes.

But the foxes turned a blind eye and continued to drink their red wine and played golf on the side.

The son of the head fox which has since taken over – the new head fox – told the animals that they needed to learn to be as hungry as the rats, or else their food will be stolen away.

To show he means business, the new head fox sent more money to the rats to bring them into the farm.

All this while, the new head fox (and his father) told the animals to learn to be self-reliant.

But even as the foxes told the animals to rely on themselves, they continue to take the produce from the animals for themselves and lived lavishly.

The chickens were angered. Their eggs were stolen. And so were their land. They kept quiet in frustration. They were the smallest animals on the land, after the rats, and they felt they could not do anything to change the situation.

The horses decided that they would continue working hard because the foxes told them that if the horses worked hard, one day they would become the foxes and live a life of luxury. The horses believed the foxes, not realising that horses can never become foxes.

The pigs continued to roll in their mud. They were becoming complacent and apathetic. The pigs thought to themselves, that if they did not disturb the foxes, the foxes would not disturb them and they could roll quietly all day long.

Meanwhile, the wolves kept to themselves, not willing to rock the boat since they were doing quite well on their own. The dogs were scared stiff by the foxes and they did not dare to speak up. But they felt more and more suppressed and started barking at one another.

Soon, all the animals were started to feel the pressure and started barking at one another, even the rats.

The sheep, well, they remained sheep.

After a while, many of the horses grew weak and tired. They had worked hard all their lives and decided that it was time to rest. The horses went to the foxes and asked to retire.

But the foxes told them that there was no money. What about their Central Produce Farm, which they could feed on to retire? But lo and behold, there wasn’t enough.

So the horses had to continue to work. One by one, they worked until they all died.

Next, it was the pigs’ turn. The pigs went to the foxes. They have been rolling in the mud too long and they were getting rashes on their bums. They needed to see the doctor to get healed.

But the foxes told them that there was no money. What about their Central Produce Farm, to see the doctor with? But lo and behold, there wasn’t enough.

So the pigs could not see the doctor. One by one, they fell sick until they all died.

The wolves were the first to see the sign of trouble. They had made enough money to leave the farm, so one by one, they packed their bags and left.

The dogs were too scared to do anything still. And they got scared to death.

The chickens were still on the farm. They revolted and threw their eggs at the foxes. So the foxes killed the chickens and ate them for breakfast. Some of the chickens escaped to the neighouring farm.

But the foxes were still hungry. So they ate the sheep for lunch. But the sheep remained oblivious even as they were being eaten alive.

There were still some rats left on the farm. The smart ones had already ran away. Without the chickens to lay the eggs, the foxes ate the rats for dinner.

With no more animals, the foxes had no more Central Produce Farm to feed on. Their banks closed down. So did their holding banks.

With no food, the foxes preyed on one another and engulfed each other until almost no one was alive.

Then, the tigers strolled in from the neighbouring farm and ate the rest for supper.

The end.

Singapore Leaders’ Family Relationships with One Another

Two days ago, I put up some charts on the families that rule Singapore.

Here are the simplified versions.

In the chart below, you can see how Singapore’s leaders are related to one another, and how their relationships extend back to the 1800s.

Teo Lee, on the top left, lived from 1833 to 1899. Ang Choon Seng, on the top right, lived from 1805 to 1852. Singapore’s current deputy prime minister, Teo Chee Hean (bottom left) is Teo Lee’s descendant. Tony Tan (bottom right), the previous deputy prime minister and the current president, is the descendant of Ang Choon Seng.

Singapore's Top Families

In this next chart, you can see the political connections (highlighted in orange). These families take up 2 positions as prime ministers, 2 as deputy prime ministers, 2 as presidents and 2 as ministers. (Note that these are only the known connections.)

But not only that, their ancestors also held political leadership positions. Lee Choon Guan, Tan Jiak Kim and Kwa Siew Tee were also Municipal Commissioners. Wee Theam Seng’s brother, Wee Theam Tew (not mentioned here), was also a Municipal Commissioner. Tan Keong Saik was also elected to the Municipal Commission. Lee Choon Guan and Tan Jiak Kim also sat on the Legislative Council.

Together, they held the majority of the positions for Municipal Commissioners that Straits Chinese held. Municipal Commissioners oversaw local urban affairs in Singapore. The Legislative Council was responsible for enacting laws in Singapore.

Today, their descendants hold leadership positions in the Singapore government.

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The chart below shows you the banking connections (highlighted in green). Note that the highlighted people are all connected to the OCBC Bank and its predecessors, and they all lived during the same era and after.

OCBC was formed from the merger of three banks – Chinese Commercial Bank (1912), Ho Hong Bank (1917) and Oversea-Chinese Bank (1919).

Lim Nee Soon was the Oversea-Chinese Bank’s chairman and the Chinese Commercial Bank’s vice-chairman. Lee Kong Chian was also a vice-chairman and Tan Jiak Kim, a director, at the Chinese Commercial Bank. Lee Choon Guan was the Chinese Commercial Bank’s chairman. He was also a shareholder of the Ho Hong Bank. Wee Theam Seng was the Chinese Commercial Bank’s manager.

Wee Theam Seng and Teo Beng Wan were both OCBC’s senior bankers. Kwa Siew Tee and Tan Cheng Siong were OCBC general managers. Tan Kah Kee played an influential role at OCBC.

Tan Chin Tuan, Lee Kong Chian, Teo Cheng Guan and Tony Tan were OCBC chairmen. Tan Chin Tuan was also its managing director and Tony Tan was its CEO. Lee Kong Chian’s son, Lee Seng Wee (not mentioned here), was also a chairman, and his grandson, Warren Lee Tih Shih (also not mentioned here) is also a director.

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In the chart below, you can see the GIC and Temasek Holdings connections (highlighted in blue). The positions are also listed. (GIC and Temasek Holdings are the two government investment firms.)

Again, they all hold top positions.

Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong (was) and is the GIC’s chairmen. Goh Keng Swee and Tony Tan were both GIC’s deputy chairmen. Tony Tan was also the executive director.

Lim Kim San and Teo Chee Hean (was) and is the GIC’s directors.

Ho Ching is Temasek Holding’s current CEO and Lim Boon Heng is its current chairman.

Singaporeans’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) pension funds are invested by the GIC and Temasek Holdings.

Today, Singaporeans earn the lowest long term returns on their pension funds and have one of the least adequate retirement funds in the world.

GIC and Temasek Holdings have become one of the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world, at 8th and 11th respectively (at the time of writing), on the back of Singaporeans’ CPF pension funds.

Singapore's Top Families - GIC and Temasek Holdings Connections

If you want to see the full charts, you can go to my previous article.

Note that these are only the known connections as much of the information is not available online.

These charts give you a sense of the closeness of the family networks in Singapore’s political leadership and its close links with the OCBC Bank. Most of them also hold top political and banking positions.

Not only that, these few families have been holding key positions in government and the financial sector in Singapore since the late 1800s, which means that there hasn’t been a break in their dominance for more than 100 years (or 130 years). Singapore’s independence from the British in 1965 did not usher in a new era in politics, but rather a continuity in these families holding on to key leadership positions. What independence did bring was that these families no longer had to work under the British.

Most of these families are Straits Chinese (or Peranakan), which formed the Straits Chinese British Association in 1900 (now known as the Peranakan Association) where Tan Jiak Kim was the president and Wee Theam Yew, a founding member. Lee Choon Guan was also a president. They were also active in the General Chinese Trade Affairs Association known today as the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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For the references, you can read Jess C Scott’s blog and my blog.

These are the Families that Rule Singapore

These are Singapore’s top families. Most of them are heads of the government or some organisation in Singapore – look at the colour codes in the boxes.

The chart below also feature 2 prime ministers, 2 deputy prime ministers, 2 presidents and several ministers, who are related.

The top Straits Chinese families have held top positions in the government and financial sector in Singapore since the late 1800s. It has been more than 100 years now.

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The conservative Chinese leaders in Singapore won the progressives, who mostly migrated overseas.

The Ongs and Seahs are also top families.

The chart below highlights the political connections.

The chart below highlights the banking connections.

An older chart shows other banking connections.

These are the known connections. If you have more evidence, you can let me know.

For the references, you can read Jess C Scott’s blog and my blog.

Defamation Trial Titbits & Fund Update 17

Two days ago, another S$500 was raised for funds to pay the Singapore prime minister.

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Background: I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for an article on this blog and have been asked to pay him S$180,000. So far, I have raised S$30,050.71Please see at the end of the article more information. 

In case you had missed the exchanges in court during the hearing on damages for my case, below are the postings from the CPF Broken Promises Facebook page and The Online Citizen.

Thank You for Your Support for the Fund Raising

As of this morning, a total of $$30,050.71 has been raised. I still have to pay another S$149,900 to the prime minister.

If you would also like to help to defray the costs and damages, you can also fund raise to the bank account at POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling) or PayPal at royngerng@gmail.com. Thank you.

My dad sells carrot cake at Block 107 in Ang Mo Kio. Some people had visited my dad’s stall to pass him some contributions. Dad’s stall is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from about 4pm to about 11pm/midnight.

The funds coming in have slowed down. But for transparency, I will continue to update on the funds raised and used, on this blog.

Meanwhile, I have also attached my LinkedIn profile here, if it might be of interest. I was fired after I was sued – the hospital that I worked at and the Ministry of Health, Singapore sent out press releases to support the firing, with the hospital alluding to the defamation suit.

If you have a job opening, scholarship or fellowship, please feel free to contact me on the opportunities. I would be grateful if you do so. I am open to working overseas as well.

View Roy Ngerng's profile on LinkedIn

View Roy Ngerng's LinkedIn profile View Roy Ngerng’s profile

*****

Background: In 2014, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for defamation. The judge ruled in a summary judgment that I have defamed him. I have apologised to the prime minister. I was ordered to pay damages of S$150,000 to him. In a settlement reached with the help of my lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, I am to pay an additional S$30,000 in costs. In total, including the previous payment that I have made to the costs of the summary judgment (S$29,000) and application for the Queen’s Counsel (S$6,000), I would have paid/will pay S$215,000. 

Two weeks ago, I have paid the first tranche of S$30,000 (of the S$180,000) to the prime minister. From April 1, 2016, for the next 5 years, I have to pay $100 every month. Thereafter, from 2021, I have to pay $1,000 every month until I finish paying.

You can read the previous updates here: [One] [Two] [Three] [Four] [Five] [Six] [Seven] [Eight] [Nine] [Ten] [Eleven] [Twelve] [Thirteen] [Fourteen] [Fifteen] [Sixteen]. I would like to thank Mothership.sg for reporting about the fund raising. 

I would also like to thank the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Safenet for releasing statements in support of me, as well as iMediaEthics and Hong Kong Free Press for interviewing me.

You can also read the previous update on the funds raised in 2014 and its usage. I would like to thank The Straits Times for reporting about it. There were also inaccurate online reports that the funds were used to pay overseas trips. This is untrue. You can read more about these in the update here.

Solutions for Singapore (& Update 16 of Defamation Funds)

Update on Fund Raising for Defamation Suit to Pay Singapore Prime Minister

Here’s a short update on the defamation funds – S$63.35 was deposited into my account from an AXS machine two days ago. A man also gave my dad S$10 at his stall yesterday. Thank you to the both of you!

Defamation Suit Funds Raised 7 April 2016

My dad sells carrot cake at Block 107 in Ang Mo Kio. Some people had visited my dad’s stall to pass him some contributions. Dad’s stall is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from about 4pm to about 11pm/midnight.

Background:

  • I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for an article on this blog and have been asked to pay him S$180,000. So far, I have raised S$29,550.71. 
  • The funds coming in have slowed down. But as long as there are funds coming in, I will update them on the blog.
  • For more information on the fund raising and the defamation suit, please see the end of the article below.

I would like to thank everyone for supporting me and contributing to the funds. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

I also wrote a post on my Facebook on the solutions for Singapore and thought to share it here.

Slide1

Solutions for Singapore

Below, I briefly outline the solutions that Singapore can take, with some calculations and estimates.

Note that in 2013, Singapore has a total cash surplus of S$31 billion.

Synopsis

  • The Singapore government can provide free healthcare, education and adequate retirement as well as provide unemployment benefits for less than an additional S$6 billion and still have more than S$25 billion in savings – all these are possible with the current revenue and without increasing taxes.

(1) Healthcare

Slide2

(A) Current:

  1. In 2014, the total health expenditure in Singapore is S$20 billion. Of this, government expenditure accounts for about 35% and Medisave accounts for only about 4%.
  2. Singapore government’s expenditure on health in 2014: S$7 billion [3]
  3. Singaporeans currently pay 8% – 10.5% of wage into Medisave. [4]
  4. In 2014, Singaporeans have paid S$71 billion into Medisave [5] but were only able to withdraw S$852 million [3] or only 1.2%.
  5. The Singapore government spends the least on healthcare among the developed countries, as a percentage of GDP. Singaporeans have to pay the most out of our own pockets in the world, purchasing power parity dollar.

(B) Proposed*:

  1. Increase government expenditure to 40%: S$8 billion
  2. Increase Medisave withdrawals so that Medisave accounts for 60% of total health expenditure – benchmarked with other countries. (In total, government expenditure and Medisave withdrawals will account for 100%.)
  3. Medisave withdrawals will increase to S$13 billion or only 18% of total Medisave balance, with plenty of surplus left.
  4. (Future plans: build more hospitals, educate and increase number of healthcare workers – to reduce hospital bed to population ratio and healthcare workers to population ratio – which is currently the highest among the developed countries.)

*There are many permutations to this. For example, Medisave withdrawals can increase to 50% and government expenditure increased to 50%.

(C) Net Effect: Free Healthcare
Additional Government Spending: S$1.4 billion

Background information:

(2) Education

Slide3.JPG

(A) Current:

  1. Singapore government’s expenditure on education in 2015: S$12 billion
  2. Singaporeans pay S$1.6 billion in fees to study in ITEs, polytechnics and universities. [7]
  3. The Singapore government spends the least on education among the developed countries, as a percentage of GDP. Singaporeans have to pay one of the most expensive university fees in the world, for citizens.

(B) Proposed:

  1. Increase government expenditure to S$13.6 billion (to cover for the S$1.6 billion in fees.)
  2. (Future plans: build more universities and increase university enrollment for Singaporeans; educate and increase number of teachers and decrease class sizes – which is currently the highest among the developed countries, and abolish streaming and examinations in earlier years, for greater equality and opportunity.)

(C) Net Effect: Free Education
Additional Government Spending: S$1.6 billion**
**Additional spending can come from other sources e.g. reducing surplus accumulation at educational institutions or reduce government sponsorships for overseas students, which can reduce additional government spending.

Background information:

(3) Retirement

Slide4.JPG

(A) Current:

  1. Central Provident Fund (CPF) pension fund interest rate: 2.5% – 4% – which is one of the lowest returns on pension funds in the world. Singaporeans also have one of the least adequate pension funds in the world. (link & link)
  2. CPF is invested in GIC (and Temasek Holdings) where they earned between 5% and 19.2% last year. Much of the interest earned is not returned to Singaporeans.
  3. Additional government spending to supplement retirement incomes (only introduced this year): ONLY S$320 million (to provide S$100 to S$250 a month for poorest 20% to 30% of elderly Singaporeans aged 65 and above)

(B) Proposed:

  1. CPF to be managed independently (STOP CPF from being transferred to GIC and Temasek Holdings – they will manage government surplus funds instead, which they currently do anyway.)
  2. CPF interest rates likely to increase to about 6% or more (global average pension returns last year was 6%).
  3. Delink CPF from being used to purchase residential apartments; let CPF be used solely for retirement purposes and reduce CPF contribution to about 10% – 15% (this is enough for adequate pension, according to studies). (With higher disposable incomes and increased wages – see (4) below – there will be enough cash on hand to purchase residential apartments, and without the need to pay accrued interest.)
  4. Increase government supplement retirement incomes to S$500 every month for all elderly Singaporeans as the current average CPF payout is estimated to be only a few hundred dollars and is not adequate for retirement – this will cost S$2.6 billion (This component is a stop-gap measure in the interim and is expected to decrease over the years as wages and the CPF interest rates increase and the CPF is able to provide adequate retirement.)

(C) Net Effect: Adequate retirement for all Singaporeans (All elderly Singaporeans will be able to retire.)
Additional Government Spending: S$2.3 billion

Background information:

(4) Wages

Slide5.JPG

(A) Current:

  1. No minimum wage – Singapore is one of very few countries in the world without one.
  2. By right, Singaporean cleaners should earn a mandated wage of S$1,000.
  3. However, there are still about 10% of Singaporeans who earn less than S$1,000.
  4. Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among countries with a similar cost of living and national wealth. Singaporeans also have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries.

(B) Proposed:

  1. Singaporeans would need to earn a minimum of between S$2,000 and S$2,500 to have a most basic standard of living, if there is free healthcare and education, and adequate pension.
  2. Currently, there are about 30% of Singaporeans who still earn less than S$2,000 and about 40% who earn less than S$2,500. The estimated poverty rate in Singapore is 30%.
  3. Implement a minimum wage at S$1,500 for a start and gradually increase it to S$2,000 (or S$2,500) over the course of a few years.
  4. To do so, the government will stop collecting foreign worker levies (In 2011, the government collected S$2.5 billion in revenue from foreign worker levies. At the rate of growth, the revenue could have grown to S$3.5 billion or S$4 billion last year.). If businesses stop paying levies, this can be diverted to increase workers’ wage instead.
  5. The share of GDP that goes into wages in Singapore is only 43%. [21] In other developed countries, the wage share is between 54% and 63%. [22] If the share of wages increase to about 58% of GDP (average wage share of developed countries), this would unlock about S$60 billion of the GDP that can be returned to Singaporeans in wages.
  6. (Future plans: minimum (living) wage will be adjusted annually/biannually for inflation. Labour unions will be strengthened so that the government reduces its role in setting wages and unions will collectively negotiate for wages sustainably.)

(C) Net Effect: Adequate living wages for Singaporeans to have basic standard of living 
(To note, the government already spends S$900 million on the Wage Credit Scheme and S$650 million on the Workfare Income Supplement to supplement the wages of workers, which mean that there is S$1.55 billion in existing funds to tide through the transition into minimum wage. This is in addition to the S$3 or S$4 billion in collects in foreign worker levies.)

Background information:

(5) Unemployment Benefits

Slide6.JPG

(A) Current:

  1. No unemployment benefits – Singapore is one of very few countries in the world without one.
  2. Singaporeans who are out of jobs still have to pay for the most expensive healthcare and one of the most expensive education while having one of the least adequate retirement funds in the world.

(B) Proposed:

  1. Introduce unemployment benefits to 60% of proposed minimum wage for 6 months (for a start) – this will cost S$756 million (There were 81,800 unemployed residents in 2014. The citizen population is about 85% of the resident population, which gives about an estimated 70,000 unemployed Singaporeans. 60% of the proposed minimum wage is S$900. In total, unemployment benefits would total about S$756 million, for a start.)
  2. (Future plans: unemployment benefits can be extended and pegged to individual incomes after the initial trial period and a study of the effects.)

(C) Net Effect: Unemployed Singaporeans are protected while they look for another job
Additional Government Spending: S$756 million

Background information:

(6) Ministerial Salaries

Slide7.JPG

(A) Current:

  1. Singapore’s ministers are paid tens and millions of dollars every year – they are paid the highest salaries in the world (link, link & link). The ministers earn a benchmark salary of S$1.1 million a year. [28]
  2. The prime minister earns S$2.2 million every year (not yet accounting for other bonuses). [29]
  3. The ministers earn the highest salaries in the world but Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among countries with a similar cost of living and national wealth. Singapore also has the highest rich-poor gap and income inequality among the developed countries.

(B) Proposed:

  1. Cap the prime minister’s salary to 10 times that of median income. Last year, the median income was S$3,000 a month. [17] This would work out to about S$400,000 a year for the prime minister (inclusive of one month’s bonus).
  2. In comparison, the United States president earns US$400,000 a year.
  3. Cap a member of parliament (MP)’s allowance to 5 times that of median income. This would work out to S$195,000 a year (inclusive of one month’s bonus) for MPs, which is about what MPs receive now (S$192,500). [31]

(C) Net Effect: More reasonable ministerial salaries 
There will be government savings.

Summary

Slide8.JPG

  1. Total Additional Government Spending: S$5.8 billion*** (for free healthcare and education, adequate retirement and unemployment benefits)
  2. In 2013, Singapore has a cash surplus of S$31 billion. (enough surplus in 1 year to pay for the additional spending for 5 years)
  3. Even after the proposed additional government spending above, there will still be more than S$25 billion left.
  • There is no need to increase taxes to increase social spending to protect Singaporeans, as there is currently already enough revenue and cash surplus.
  • This is also possible because what Singaporeans pay into CPF and Medisave is already enough to cover for most of the additional spending for retirement and healthcare, and does not require further government spending.
  • Even with the proposed additional government spending, Singapore will still have the lowest expenditure on social protection among the developed countries.
  • Note that with the proposed spending in the above to provide free healthcare and education, and adequate pension, this would mean that some current expenditure, such as on social assistance and Medifund, will be consolidated – some made redundant – and the expenditure on these reduced, which would mean that there will be more savings. Savings will also come from the reduction of ministerial salaries. (***Taking into account the savings, the total additional government spending might be only another S$3 or S$4 billion.)
  • Also, note that it is estimated that tens of billions of dollars are lost in Singapore due to illegal money-laundering activities, which would be enough to pay for this additional spending for several years.
  • Note also that as wages increase, so will the revenue in tax collected, which will also boost revenue for these spending.

Note: this exercise is not to say that government expenditure should cover fully for basic necessities, but it is to show that this can be done and that there will still be an extravagant surplus left. The next step is to have a national conversation on what should be done – noting that the money which should be used is currently sitting inside government coffers without helping Singaporeans. What matters is whether there is the political will to do this.

Read more:

*****

Thank You for Your Support for the Fund Raising

As of this morning, a total of $$29,550.71 has been raised. I still have to pay another S$149,900 to the prime minister.

If you would also like to help to defray the costs and damages, you can also fund raise to the bank account at POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling) or PayPal at royngerng@gmail.com. Thank you.

The funds coming in have slowed down. But for transparency, I will continue to update on the funds raised and used, on this blog.

Meanwhile, I have also attached my LinkedIn profile here, if it might be of interest. I was fired after I was sued – the hospital that I worked at and the Ministry of Health, Singapore sent out press releases to support the firing, with the hospital alluding to the defamation suit.

If you have a job opening, scholarship or fellowship, please feel free to contact me on the opportunities. I would be grateful if you do so. I am open to working overseas as well.

View Roy Ngerng's profile on LinkedIn

View Roy Ngerng's LinkedIn profile View Roy Ngerng’s profile

*****

Background: In 2014, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for defamation. The judge ruled in a summary judgment that I have defamed him. I have apologised to the prime minister. I was ordered to pay damages of S$150,000 to him. In a settlement reached with the help of my lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, I am to pay an additional S$30,000 in costs. In total, including the previous payment that I have made to the costs of the summary judgment (S$29,000) and application for the Queen’s Counsel (S$6,000), I would have paid/will pay S$215,000. 

Two weeks ago, I have paid the first tranche of S$30,000 (of the S$180,000) to the prime minister. From April 1, 2016, for the next 5 years, I have to pay $100 every month. Thereafter, from 2021, I have to pay $1,000 every month until I finish paying.

You can read the previous updates here: [One] [Two] [Three] [Four] [Five] [Six] [Seven] [Eight] [Nine] [Ten] [Eleven] [Twelve] [Thirteen] [Fourteen] [Fifteen]. I would like to thank Mothership.sg for reporting about the fund raising. 

I would also like to thank the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Safenet for releasing statements in support of me, as well as iMediaEthics and Hong Kong Free Press for interviewing me.

You can also read the previous update on the funds raised in 2014 and its usage. I would like to thank The Straits Times for reporting about it. There were also inaccurate online reports that the funds were used to pay overseas trips. This is untrue. You can read more about these in the update here.

Panama Papers: How Singapore is Involved

I searched through the news to find out how Singapore is involved in the Panama Papers. Below are excerpts from the news articles. Unfortunately, none of the newspapers in Singapore are part of the global consortium of news organisations and journalists who have been investigating the leaks, and the mainstream media in Singapore is largely controlled and unlikely to report on the news. We have to rely on external sources to find out more. (“Singapore” is highlighted in bold font in this article.)

Note: Please note that none of the articles are written by me – all articles are credited to their sources and writers, where the names are available. Please click into each of the header links to read more from the news sites.

Data breach is busting heads of states running a world of international crime (eTN)

“Panama, Bahamas, USA, Anguilla, U.K. Iceland, Seychelles, Syria, Costa Rica, Belize, Hong Kong, Samoa, Niue, Singapore, New Zealand, Uruguay, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Malta, Cyprus, and Switzerland are only some of the countries mentioned in the biggest database breach ever, opening up the flood gates to bust heads of states and other high-level officials from some of these countries of running the world’s largest criminal enterprise. Revealed today were the Panama Papers: With 11.5 million emails, documents, contracts, invoices and bank statements, it is the biggest data breach ever.

It reveals global capital transfers and secret deals of condemning criminals and persons who prosecutors accused of serious crimes – including war crimes, drug trafficking, sanctions fracture, the trafficking of children.

The Panama papers also show how heads of state as well as authoritarian rulers and their families build and use secret asset structures without anyone this seriously controlling it.”

 Video: The Panama Papers leak, explained with an adorable comic about piggy banks (Vox)

Panama Papers: What are ‘tax havens’? (Rand Daily Mail)

Written by: Tommaso Faccio 

“The Panama Papers leak sheds some light on the intricate ways in which the wealthy can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. As well as charging minimal or no tax to residents and non-residents, the main characteristics of tax havens are their lack of transparency and effective information exchange.

As the leaked files of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca show, these havens are used by individuals and companies to stash their cash, away from the prying eyes of civilians or investigators. This is not necessarily because their money has been obtained illegally. In the case of public figures such as politicians, for example, they may want to keep the size of their wealth a secret or hide from their electorates that they or their relatives are legally minimising their tax. To do so, they hide their identity using a number of complex legal mechanisms.

Whether it is a wealthy entrepreneur or a drug trafficker, the tricks used to make their affairs hard to trace are pretty similar. It all starts by incorporating a “shell company” (or a “letterbox company”) in an offshore tax jurisdiction, using the services of a law firm such as Mossack Fonseca. These companies have the outward appearance of being a legitimate business but in reality are just empty shells. They manage the money they receive and hide who owns it. The management is made up of lawyers and accountants, whose only role is to sign documents and allow their names to appear on the company’s letterhead.

The money is received by this shell company from people who wish to hide these funds from tax authorities and the wider public. Very few questions are asked about the source of this money, which can then be used by the shell company to carry out legal activities such as investing in real estate — or illegal activities such as bribing a government official.

It is not illegal to have dealings with a tax haven — and in fact there can be very legitimate reasons to conduct business there, such as investing in a hedge or mutual fund. And tax havens are often used by business people in unstable countries where they are at risk of “raids” by criminals or their governments.

In spite of this, the lack of transparency and lack of information exchange can also be used for illicit purposes, including money laundering, bribery, corruption, tax fraud and other illegal activities. Because the beneficial owners of a company are kept secret, the proceeds of crime can be hidden or used for nefarious purposes without any authorities being able to trace it. If law enforcement and other competent authorities had access to beneficial ownership information, they could “follow the money” in financial investigations involving suspect accounts or assets held by corporate vehicles.

Panama is far from alone in this business. According to the 2015 Financial Secrecy Index for 2015 compiled by the Tax Justice Network, Switzerland, Hong Kong, the US, Singapore and the Cayman Islands are the top five jurisdictions for secrecy and the scale of their offshore financial activities.”

Here’s Why You Should Give a Shit About the Panama Papers (Vice)

Written by: Drew Schwartz

“Offshore companies aren’t illegal – not inherently, anyway. But using them to hide assets from tax authorities, thwart investigations and and protect criminals is.

Here’s how this whole mess of a situation works:

An individual, often through a middle-man they’re close to, pays Mossack Fonseca to create a “shell company” – a business on paper, but in reality, a storehouse for a shit-ton of money, whether in cold hard cash or tied up in shares. Mossack Fonseca sets up the shell company offshore in a place like Panama (where the firm is based), the British Virgin Islands, or any other “tax haven” – a place where the true owner of a company can be anonymous and their home country (which, typically, doesn’t know about the company in the first place) can’t tax it.

Say a politician makes £100,000 pounds per year on salary, and for some reason – bribes, business deals, all manner of shady shit – also makes upwards of £1 million in some other way. If they put that money in an offshore shell company, they can access it without being taxed for it. Even if the shell company is discovered, it can’t be tied directly to the politician because the company is technically owned by someone else – a stand-in owner who’s appointed by Mossack Fonseca to run the company on paper, but, in reality, doesn’t own anything. To move the money, the company pretends to make business deals: the Panama Papers reveal thousands of fake share trades, million-dollar payments for “consultancy” and huge payouts in “compensation” for cancelled transactions.

“This is not business,” money-laundering expert Andrew Mitchell QC told BBC Panorama. “This is creating the appearance of business in order to continually move and hide assets.”

Hong Kong, Singapore implicated in ‘Panama papers’ rich people scandal (The Rakyat Post)

“The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes and among the tax havens identified are Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia, while the rest are mainly in the Caribbean vicinity.”

Panama Papers: where the money is hiding (Brian Kilmartin)

Singapore has 48 clients, 135 beneficiaries, 2,275 shareholders and 4,081 companies – one of the highest in the world.

Panama Papers show 1,800 UK intermediaries involved in offshore tax havens (CCH Daily)

Written by: Pat Sweet

“For the countries with the most active intermediaries, Hong Kong tops the list, with 37,675 intermediaries, followed by Switzerland 34,301 intermediaries); UK (32,682 intermediaries); Luxembourg (15,479 intermediaries); Panama (8,624 intermediaries); Cyprus (7,157); (Uruguay (5,174 intermediaries); Isle of Man (5,058 intermediaries); Singapore (4,050) and Russia (3,541).

ICIJ says more than 500 banks, their subsidiaries and their branches – including HSBC, UBS and Société Générale – created around 15,600 offshore companies for their customers through Mossack Fonseca.

Most of the offshore companies were active for only a short period. The number of active companies managed by Mossack Fonseca peaked in 2009, with almost 82,000, and have since been in decline. A total of 21 offshore jurisdictions were involved, including Nevada, Bahamas, British Anguilla, and Singapore.

The data includes emails, financial spreadsheets, passports and corporate records revealing the secret owners of bank accounts and companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions, from Nevada to Singapore to the British Virgin Islands.”

Panama Papers Countries with the most active intermediaries.png

Photo credit: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists The Panama Papers

Hong Kong tops for secretive offshore financial services, according to leaked docs (Hong Kong Free Press)

Written by: Tom Grundy

“According to the Tax Justice Network, Hong Kong is second only to Switzerland in its 2015 Financial Secrecy Index*. The ranking compares national jurisdictions based on their secrecy laws and the scale of offshore financial activities in the country. The United States, Singapore and the Cayman Islands were also amongst the “worst offenders” in the top five.”

*See below Financial Secrecy Index 

Panama Papers: Top Ten Tax Havens—Where the Money is Hidden (Newsweek)

Written by: Lucy Clarke-Billings 

“Singapore

This former British colony vies with Hong Kong to be Asia’s leading offshore financial center.

According to the Boston Consulting Group in 2015, Singapore held around one eighth of the global stock of total offshore wealth, and an IMF report in 2014 estimated that over 95 percent of all commercial banks in Singapore are affiliates of foreign banks, a testament to its extreme dependence on foreign—and offshore—money.

It hosts substantial activity in insurance, in debt and equity capital markets, in derivatives, and in offshore companies and trusts. It is a major wealth management center, with $1.4 trillion in assets under management in 2013.

As a country, it poses many of the same threats that Hong Kong does—a lack of serious reforms to its corporate secrecy regime and a lack of interest in creating public registries of beneficial ownership.”

The Panama Papers: Where are the Americans? (Politico)

Written by: Danny Vinik 

“Tax evasion overall is a far larger problem in developing countries, where norms around paying taxes are weak and rules designed to stop such evasion are ineffective. And when wealthy Americans do want to evade taxes, they turn to Bermuda, or the Cayman Islands, or Singapore. They don’t park their money in Panama.

“If there was a leak from Singapore, as opposed to Panama, which is what we have so far, we might find more [evasion],” said Reuven Avi-Yonah, a law professor at the University of Michigan who has testified before Congress about tax evasion.””

Australia Wikimedia.png

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Companies shift billions in Singapore (The West Australian)

Written by: Shane Wright 

“It has been revealed Australian companies funnelled almost $110 billion in and out of low-tax Singapore in one year as tax authorities globally ramp up focus on the world’s richest.

As the Australian Taxation Office confirmed it was looking at the financial affairs of 800 Australians, data shows Singapore is by far more important for local firms than major trading partners such as the US and Japan.

Tax-office data also shows how keen Australian firms have become to move money through Singapore, where the corporate tax rate can be as low as 2 per cent.

In 2013-14, Australian firms declared revenues in Singapore through “international related-party dealings” of $51.2 billion, a 13 per cent rise on the year before.

Firms declared expenditures with related firms in Singapore of $57.8 billion. The money-flows through Singapore dwarf other countries, including the US ($16.4 billion in revenues), Britain ($17 billion) and Japan ($12.3 billion).”

Panama Papers: Fraudsters, former tax officials among Australians identified in Mossack Fonseca leak (ABC)

Written by: the National Reporting Team’s Lisa Main and Elise Worthington

Murray Priestley ABC.jpg

Photo credit: ABC

“Former Queensland-based Lifestyle trader chief executive Murray Priestley relocated to Singapore after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found he engaged in “deceptive conduct” and offered clients “misleading advice”.

In June 2013, ASIC banned Mr Priestley from providing financial services for three years.

At the time, Mr Priestley was a director of a company registered by Mossack Fonseca.

After Mossack Fonseca became aware of Mr Priestley’s ban, the firm sought additional due diligence information but it appears requests went unanswered.

Despite the ban, Mr Priestley and his company Alpha Holdings Management remain active, according to the leaked documents.”

India Wikipedia

Photo credit: Wikipedia

#PanamaPapersIndia Part 3: Bellary baron, tank tycoon, top industrialist (The Indian Express)

“Bhandari Ashok Ramdayalchand

Mossack FonseCa records show Bhandari Ashok Ramdayalchand is the sole director and shareholder of a BVI company called Ferryden International Limited, which is registered with MF’s Singapore branch. The company was registered in January 2005, with Bhandari holding all its 50,000 shares.

Bhandari operates mainly out of a single-storey bungalow called “Bhandaris” in a gated community known as Abhiship Bungalows in a posh stretch of the road between Ahmedabad’s Thaltej and Shilaj localities. He provides financial services including expertise on accountancy, auditing services and investment banking to a host of companies, including some listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

RESPONSE: He declined to meet or speak on the phone to The Indian Express for a response. “I have informed him about your queries. He is not interested in talking about his businesses to the media. We live in this part of the town because we love a bit of privacy,” said a woman who said she was “Mrs Bhandari” but declined to give her name. The address The Indian Express tried to reach him on is the same as the one in the MF records.

— Avinash Nair/Ahmedabad

***

Rahul Arunprasad Patel

Patel is one of the three managing directors of Sintex Industries Ltd, an Ahmedabad-based company that has made a name for itself in manufacturing water tanks. He is among the promoters of the company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. MF records show Patel was a director with a BVI entity named Amarange Inc which was registered in 2008. The company was struck off the

MF records in 2014. The purpose for which it was set up has been recorded as: “Investments and for holding real estate in Singapore”.

RESPONSE: Contacted by The Indian Express, Rahul A Patel said: “We have a number of companies registered abroad. I am not sure if Amarange Inc is still ours. I do not deal with the financial part.”

In response to the questionnaire sent to Rahul Patel, the managing director of Sintex Industries, Amit D Patel said over the phone: “We have about 21 plants outside India. We acquired this (Amarange Inc) in 2007. While we acquire international operations, we need to create holding companies. When you acquire a company, you need to hold it outside India and then repatriate the dividends to India. So it is done with RBI permission and guidelines. We also borrow money there and we also send money outside India to fund our acquisition and we also get dividends from those companies into India. It (Amarange Inc) is part of our balance sheets and we also disclose (information about) it in our balance sheets since 2007. We keep on creating and closing these companies as and when the acquisition opportunities arise.”

— Avinash Nair/Ahmedabad

***

George Mathew

Thiruvananthapuram native George Mathew is a chartered accountant who moved to Singapore 12 years ago. He launched a firm, Future Books, which describes itself as a one-stop service-provider for setting up companies.

MF records show Mathew has been associated with a clutch of offshore entities registered in the BVI around 2011. He is shown as a director or nominee director, and several Powers of Attorney have been signed by him for the companies, among which there is a lot of cross-shareholding. BVI companies linked to him include Soul Rhythm International Limited, Seabridge Group Holdings Ltd, Azaxel Asset Holdings Limited, Hallwood Enterprise Ltd, and The Wonderful Solutions Corporation. MF records contain his addresses in Singapore and Kerala.

RESPONSE: Mathew told The Indian Express from Singapore that he has been an NRI for several years, and RBI regulations did not apply to him. “For the last 12 years, I have been away from India,” he said. Asked about Wonderful Solutions and Soul Rhythm International Limited, Mathew said: “These companies belong to our clients, who are natives of Singapore. The RBI and the Income-Tax Department of India have little to do with them.””

— Shaju Philip/ Thiruvananthapuram

Read more: 

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Photo credit: Wikipedia

“Panama papers”: how close to Marine Le Pen took out money from France (Le Monde)

Written by: Simon Piel and Anne Michel

Frédéric Chatillon Le Monde.jpg

Photo credit: Le Monde/Julien Muguet/Hanslucas

“A sophisticated offshore system has been set up between Hong Kong, Singapore , the British Virgin Islands and Panama. It was used to getmoney from France , through company s screens and fake invoices with the desire to escape the French anti-money services.

At the center of this financial engineering offshore Frédéric Chatillon. Former leader of the Group Union Defense (GUD), student small group of extreme right, he met Marine Le Pen at the University of Assas right to early 1990. A strong friendship was forged since his company Riwal , has become the main provider of FN for communication during election campaigns and in 2012, its exclusive provider.

In 2012, just after the presidential election less than a month before the elections, Frédéric Chatillon is organized with the support of Nicolas hook to make out EUR 316 000 of the company Riwal and French territory. He intends to reinvest a portion of that sum in the company headed by one of his friends, Pascal Xatart based in Singapore without having to explain the origin of the funds.

To do this, a complex assembly is formed. First step in May 2012: the boss of Riwal is acquiring, through a company linked to Riwal and FN Unanimous France, a shell company, nicely called Time Dragon, based in Hong Kong, whose house mother is domiciled in more than 15,000 km away, the British Virgin islands. Time Dragon is a 100% subsidiary of Harson Asia Limited, domiciled on the island of Tortola in the Virgin Islands by Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. It is she who will perform the final investment in the company of a friend of Frédéric Chatillon Singapore. But it is still necessary that Time Dragon can receive the French capital. Without attracting attention.

This is where Nicolas Hook is the second step. To confuse further tracks, the accountant – who was charged Marine’s economic program Le Pen in 2012 – proposes to use as porting entity, one of Hong Kong offshore company of his brother, Sebastian: Ever Harvest Garments Limited. A company also at odds with the Chinese tax authorities.

A false invoice is issued by Ever Harvest for the attention of Unanime France to justify the transfer of funds from France to Asia. This bill is supposed to regulate the realization of Marine Blue Rally websites for the laws, the beautiful benefits and well done but by a different provider qu’Ever Harvest. It remains only to make a transfer from the bank account to that of Ever Harvest Time Dragon. What’s done.

The third step can therefore engage Frédéric Chatillon recovers its funds in Hong Kong. It invests in Giift the company of his friend Pascal Xatart, by buying out a Luxembourg shareholder. Money travelagain, this time to its final destination, Singapore. The operation completed, the front company of the Virgin Islands was dissolved in October 2014, and Time Dragon, renamed flatly Unanimous Asia.”

(translated from Google)

Pakistan Wikimedia

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Panama Papers: Something fishy with Pakistani Politicians (The Siasat Daily)

“‘Saifullah family of Lakki Marwat’, which has a history of politics and business in the country, owns a record number of 34 offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Seychelles.

The companies are owned by Senator Osman Saifullah and his family members. The companies also own bank accounts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland and lands in the United Kingdom.

Interestingly, Senator Osman Saifullah is a member of the Tax Reform Commission set up by the government to check revenue leakage, broaden the revenue base and improve tax administration.”

Panama Papers: List of Pakistani politicians, businessmen who own companies abroad (Pakistan Today)

“Sultan Ali Allana, Chairman of Habib Bank Limited, and Khawaja Iqbal Hassan, former NIB bank President, held the power of attorney of Swiss Fixed Income Advisors, S.A. registered in BVI in April 1999. A letter from ABN AMRO N.V. London advised to its Singapore branch for the issuance of a draft of one million dollars favoring USB AG and to hand that over to either Sultan or Iqbal upon production of a passport. The Swiss Fixed Income Advisors was dissolved after this. Their detailed version in response to The News questions has been given at the bottom.”

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Photo credit: Wikipedia

Action against any firm named in Panama Papers (The Star)

Written by: Razak Ahmad 

“The ICIJ on Monday reported that members of the Malaysian Government and their families were among those who owned offshore firms in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands.

Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib, the Prime Minister’s son who was among those named in the leak, has explained that he was no longer involved in the two companies implicated.

There was no immediate reaction from the Inland Revenue Board over whether it would start investigations.”

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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

803 Indonesians Named in Panama Papers (Tempo.co)

Written by: Fery Firmansyah, Abdul Manan and Wahyu Dhyatmika 

“The Panama Papers named 899 individuals and companies in Indonesia who have set up shell companies in a number of tax havens, consisting of 803 shareholders, 10 companies, 28 set up companies and 58 relevant parties.

Panama Papers is different to Offshore Leaks. The Offshore Leaks, released in 2013, named 2961 Indonesians who were registered in 23 companies. Panama documents leak is from Panama-based legal firm Mossack Fonseca.

Whereas Offsore Leaks data came from Singapore-based Portcullis TrustNet and British Virgin Island-based Commonwealth Trust Ltd. However, both Offshore Leaks and Panama Papers were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a global network of investigative journalists.

The Panama Papers named, among others, oil tycoon Riza Chalid and the Attorney General’s Office fugitive, Joko S. Tjandra.”

Panama papers: Indonesia combs files for dodgers (SBS)

Written by: AAP

“More than $US200 billion is estimated to have been parked overseas, in places such as neighbouring Singapore, by well-off Indonesians, effectively allowing them to evade their tax responsibilities.”

Govt to use Panama Papers as supplementary tax data (The Jakarta Post)

Written by: Ayomi Amindoni

“Leaked information on clients of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, known as the Panama Papers, will be used as supplementary data by the tax office, the finance minister says. Analyst have urged the government to use the data to pursue hidden tax potential.

Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the government would examine information in the Panama Papers thoroughly and expected that the data would reveal a number of Indonesians who had undeclared assets in offshore companies.

Bambang said the government had information on Indonesians who had stashed money in countries that were tax havens. British Virgin Island, Cook Island and Singapore are the favorite tax havens for Indonesians.

“We will use the papers to supplement data that we currently have. According to our data, many Indonesians have ‘paper’ companies in various tax havens,” said Bambang in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He estimated that funds stashed overseas totaled more than Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP). “From estimated calculations of potential money owned offshore by Indonesians, I’d say it is more than our GDP, more than Rp 11.4 quadrillion [US$861.7 billion],” he said.”

Panama Papers: Inside Anglo’s ‘smooth and quiet’ Austrian business (The Irish Times)

Written by: Simon Carswell

“The Irish bank’s Vienna operation had in the 2000s been aggressively soliciting for business from wealthy depositors on the basis that their money would remain a secret if deposited in Austria.

The branch featured in a list of seven banks recommended by Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm that helped the rich and powerful conceal the ownership and control of assets, according to leaked documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, of which The Irish Times is a partner.

Anglo Irish Bank (Austria) appeared in other records leaked to the Washington-based consortium three years ago from a Singapore company that helped clients set up offshore companies and trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other tax havens.

One Anglo executive in Vienna boasted in an email to Portcullis Trustnet in Singapore in 2006 that Austria “deliberately keeps a lower profile” than the world’s private banking centre, Switzerland, and that investors appreciated “the smooth and quiet way in which the Austrian bank conducts business with their customers”.”

Shady trade deals back in focus (The Telegraph – Calcutta)

Written by: Jayanta Roy Chowdhury

“In the case of Bahamas, it was seen that exports had surged from just $2 million in 2008-09 to over $2 billion in 2010-11 – an increase of 1,000 per cent in shipments to a country with just 400,000 people, about 20 per cent less than the population of Siliguri in North Bengal.

Payments were often made via a string of shell companies in various places even as the actual shipments went to or came from some other place.

In the case of coal imported from South Africa or Indonesia, the payment could be routed through tax havens in Dubai, Singapore or the British Virgin Islands.

The payment shown on paper could be 50-60 per cent higher than the actual CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of the shipment.

Importers would claim that the spot prices had shot up for that day or the coal was of a higher calorific value. The actual price could vary between $30 per tonne and $40 per tonne, but the price shown as paid through the various layers of companies in tax havens could be anything between $70 and $80 per tonne.

Enforcement Directorate officials said while the actual value was paid to the company in South Africa that shipped the coal, the “extras” were paid to the intermediary firms in tax havens.”

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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Panama Papers: Dmitry Rybolovlev used offshore company to hide art from wife, leaked documents reveal (The Art Newspaper)

Written by: Cristina Ruiz

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Photo credit: The Art Newspaper/AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

“In December 2008 Elena Rybolovleva filed for divorce from her husband Dmitry, who is now embroiled in a separate legal battle with his former art advisor Yves Bouvier. The Rybolovlevs were based in Switzerland and under Swiss law each spouse was entitled to an equal part of the couple’s wealth.

But tracking down Dmitry Rybolovlev’s assets was not easy. Mossack Fonseca had helped the businessman transfer ownership of many of his art assets to a company they set up for him in the British Virgin Islands, Xitrans Finance Ltd. This off-shore firm owned paintings by Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas and Rothko and “also bought Louis XVI-style desks, tables and drawers made by some of Paris’s grandest furniture makers,” the ICIJ writes.

“As the marriage broke down, according to notes from a court hearing sent via email to Mossack Fonseca in January 2009, [Rybolovlev] used Xitrans Finance Ltd to move these luxury items out of Switzerland to Singapore and London, beyond [his wife’s] reach.”

Here’s the Price Countries Pay for Tax Evasion Exposed in Panama Papers (The Intercept)

Written by: Jon Schwarz

“So as a result of all the different schemes like the ones being unveiled by the Mossack Fonseca leak, governments around the world are dealing with at least a one-third of a trillion dollar annual shortfall that must be made up by cutting spending, borrowing, or taxing the rest of us more than they should.

In terms of tax avoidance, Zucman points out that about a third of U.S. corporate profits, or $650 billion, are purportedly earned outside the country. Corporate tax lawyers use accounting tricks to make 55 percent of this $650 billion bogusly appear to have been generated in six low- or zero-tax countries: the Netherlands, Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland, Singapore, and Switzerland. According to U.S. law, the corporations don’t have to pay our corporate tax rate of 35 percent until the profits are brought back to the United States, so the profits generally stay overseas. However, if those profits did come home and were taxed at the proper rate, the U.S. corporate tax bill would be about $130 billion higher per year.

Thus tax evasion is most costly for the regular citizens of Russia, Latin America, and Africa. Meanwhile, while it’s impossible to calculate precisely, Americans and Europeans pay more of the burden of American corporations’ tax avoidance.”

Panama Papers: why tax havens matter, in one chart (Vox)

Written by: Matthew Yglesias

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Photo credit: Vox

“The use of shell companies and tax havens isn’t new, but it’s an increasingly important subject, and not just because the Panama Papers leaks have it in the news. According to estimates from UC Berkley economist Gabriel Zucman, the share of global wealth being held in these kinds of structures has skyrocketed over the past quarter-century:

Pretty much any tax regime you can think of is going to have some exploitable loopholes. If you don’t do anything to change the system, over time those loopholes are going to be found, publicized, exploited, and expanded. Eventually, their use becomes so simple and routinized that whole industries are dedicated to guiding tax avoiders through the process and foreign economies (like the Cayman Islands) are based on protecting the gains.

In a functioning political system, this becomes a cat-and-mouse game where the government closes the loopholes and the lawyers and accountants try to keep discovering news ones. But across much of the world, the cats — inspired by anti-tax ideology — have been deliberately falling further and further behind, and the mice are acting with more impunity. That’s what you see on this chart.

The result is a world in which it’s hardly fair to call things like tax shelters in Panama “loopholes” anymore. They are a visible, persistent part of the global tax system, and the authorities behind that system have implicitly signaled that it is safe and even acceptable to use them.”

The Panama Papers expose how the global elite ruined the housing market and stopped you from buying a home (The Independent)

Written by: Hannah Fearn 

“Last year, speaking in Singapore, David Cameron was forced to acknowledge that foreign investment in British housing stock was damaging to the housing market and provided a cover for illegal activities. He agreed to crack down on individuals and organisations using the mask of offshore companies to invest in the UK property market as a means to launder what he called “dirty money”. He described how London property was being snapped up with “plundered and laundered cash” and promised that the UK should not be a “safe haven for corrupt money”. But it wasn’t enough.

In making the speech, Cameron was responding to a growing realisation that, in ushering in foreign investment, the government had also welcomed in a wealthy elite that objected to transparency in its financial dealings. Did we really know what, or who, we were dealing with? More importantly, did we understand how significant an effect their secret spending with the global luxury real estate brokers of Mayfair was having on everyone else, right down to the family trying to buy a modest two-bedroom semi in Chelmsford?

Even Donald Toon, director of economic crime at the National Crime Agency, said the use of ‘corporate wrappers’ and other tactics to launder money had “skewed” the property market. “Prices are being artificially driven up by overseas criminals who want to sequester their assets here in the UK, ” he said last year.

Wealthy elites, purchasing high end residential and commercial property, have pushed up the prices of housing for everyone. In the city centre, global high rollers compete aggressively for prime space, the solid investments that can weather a global financial crisis – and even a predicted future downturn. The fight pushes up the price, but when you’re finding ways to sidestep all the financial obligations that go with buying a home, perhaps that doesn’t matter quite so much. The buyers keep on coming.

What hope for an ordinary household, requiring two incomes to repay a mortgage? Even with a major deposit of, say, 40 per cent, the buyer with the readies will always take precedence. That causes a ripple effect.”

Panama Papers: UAE president leads London property holdings (Daily Mail)

Written by: AFP

“The president of the United Arab Emirates owns London properties worth more than £1.2 billion ($1.7 billion, 1.5 billion euros) through offshore companies revealed in the so-called Panama Papers, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was among numerous public figures named as owners of billions of pounds of central London real estate following the huge leak of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Owning British property through offshore companies is perfectly legal, but it is controversial because such holdings obscure the identity of the owners, allowing them to avoid scrutiny and tax.

“There is no place for dirty money in Britain,” Cameron said in a speech during a visit to Singapore.”

To millennials caught in the rent trap, the Panama Papers matter (The Guardian)

Written by: Kate Lyons

“So it doesn’t come as a surprise to us, nor I imagine to older generations, that leaders are out for themselves, that some wealthy people do immoral, or possibly illegal, things to make more money for themselves and keep as much of it out of the communal pot as possible. It’s easy to get blase about what are extraordinary revelations, and to dismiss them with a world-weary shrug of the shoulders.

Which is exactly why today’s revelations about the connections between tax havens and property ownership are so important. Revealed in the leaked documents was the fact that 2,800 Mossack Fonseca companies are connected to more than 6,000 UK title deeds, worth at least £7bn . On top of this, according to Guardian analysis, more than 90,000 properties in England and Wales are listed in the Land Registry to overseas owners, at least 75,000 of which are owned by companies or individuals registered in tax havens.

In a country where most young people cannot afford to buy a home, the fact that thousands of properties are bought through tax haven-based companies, by people who are already wealthy enough to restructure their finances to take advantage of tax havens, driving up house prices, and pushing out owner-occupiers, matters. And it especially matters to millennials.

This is where the Panama Papers come in. Now we know just how much property is owned by companies linked with Mossack Fonseca, we can see how it affects young people. These companies buy property for very different reasons and with very different resources at their disposal than the average millennial looking to get on the property ladder.

The tax haven-operated company is not wondering whether it can scrimp and borrow from their family to get together the deposit for a two-bedroom apartment that mightallow them to have a child, rather than the one-bedroom property that’s already bankrupting them. They’re not debating whether the savings they get from buying in the furthest-flung suburbs of the city are worth the cost of the commute. In fact they may not be thinking about the property as a place in which people live at all.

Properties owned by offshore landlords aren’t illegal, nor are they the only reason for the precipitously escalating house prices across the country, but they are a factor. And as these companies and the, until now, mostly anonymous people behind them, buy more properties across the country, the dream of young adults buying a house, not as an investment, but as a home, gets further and further out of reach.

Millennials probably won’t be surprised by the revelations of how the tax haven system keeps the rich and powerful rich and powerful, but it’s important to remember that such wealth often comes at the expense of others. Even if it doesn’t shock us, it should make us angry.”

*Financial Secrecy Index

The Financial Secrecy Index ranks jurisdictions according to their secrecy and the scale of their offshore financial activities. A politically neutral ranking, it is a tool for understanding global financial secrecy, tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions, and illicit financial flows or capital flight.

The index was launched on November 2, 2015.

Singapore ranks 4th most secret.

Financial Secrecy Index

You should also read the following – from the previous Offshore Leaks by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2013

  1. Offshore Banking / Money Laundering (Jess C Scott Singapore Politics: Blog) 
  2. ICIJ’s Offshore Files: The Singapore Link? (Article 14)
  3. The Secret List of Off-Shore-Companies, Persons and Adresses, Part 147, SINGAPORE

Highlights of Offshore Leaks so far (The Center for Public Integrity)

Written by: Kimberley Porteous

  • “The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on June 14 (2013) released the Offshore Leaks interactive database that allows the public to search through more than 100,000 secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore locales such as the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands and Singapore.
  • British tax authorities said they were working with the United States and Australian tax administrations on analyzing a 400GB data cache “showing the use of companies and trusts in a number of territories around the world including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands,” the British tax office statement said. The data cache is believed to be the same one obtained by ICIJ and used as a basis for the Offshore Leaks investigation.
  • British authorities say they have so far identified “over 100 people who benefit from these structures … and are under investigation for offshore tax evasion,” as well as more than 200 UK accountants, lawyers and other middlemen who helped set up the offshore structures.
  • Fabio Ghioni, the former head of information security at Telecom Italia who was later convicted of hacking the data of 4,000 people, had an offshore company called Constant Surge Investments Limited. Internal documents reveal he was advised by the Singapore branch of Deutsche Bank to do business with Portcullis TrustNet. When interviewed by L’Espresso, he denied being the beneficial owner of CSIL: “I don’t know anything of this. I don’t even know where the Virgin Islands are located.”
  • Top Malaysian politicians and their families, including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s son Mirzan and current cabinet minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin, are among prominent Malaysians with secretive offshore companies housed in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands.
  • Two major French banks, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole oversaw the creation of a large number of totally opaque offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and Singapore from the late 1990s until the end of the 2000s for clients in search of secrecy and lower tax rates.
  • Nicky Hager provides an in-depth look at the offshore service provider Portcullis TrustNet. Roughly 45,000 of about 77,000 of the client list come from China, Taiwan, Singapore and other East and Southeast Asian nations. The firm is used by many of the world’s major banks, such as UBS, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse subsidiary Clariden, and by the world’s biggest auditing firms, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and KPMG, to provide secrecy for their wealthy clients, and was implicated in New Zealand’s “winebox affair” scandal of the decade.
  • Germany’s largest financial institution, Deutsche Bank, helped its customers maintain more than 300 secretive offshore companies and trusts through its Singapore branch.”

Dirty Money: Will Singapore Clean Up Its Act? (Spiegel)

Written by: Martin Hesse

“And therein lays the contradiction: Singapore wants to be an attractive financial center while preserving its reputation as a corruption-free zone and remaining a level above pure tax shelters, like Nauru. The government under the ruling People’s Action Party is relentless when it comes to keeping streets, subways and parks spotlessly clean, but some question whether it is equally diligent about implementing the new laws on money laundering and tax evasion.”

And now, look at how Norway responds – with conscience and ethics:

At a glance: Global fallout from offshore accounts reports (Yahoo)

Written by: The Associated Press 

“The bank DNB said it regrets having helped about 40 customers open offshore companies in the Seychelles with the help of Mossack Fonseca. The bank was reacting to a report in Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten showing it had helped customers set up shell companies in the Seychelles to avoid taxes.

The bank said “that it was legal to set up this type of companies doesn’t mean that it was correct for us to do it for these customers.””

Update 15 of Defamation Funds & All-You-Need-to-Know Singapore Statistics

I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for an article on this blog and have been asked to pay him S$180,000.

Thank you everyone for your support and contributing to the funds for the defamation suit. I am very thankful and grateful for your support. It would have been difficult to do this alone.

As of 12pm today, I have raised S$29,477.36. 

The funds were raised from the POSB bank account and PayPal, and also from customers at my dad’s stall who have been kind enough to support. A nice lady also recognised me on the street and also gave me S$150.

(1) POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling): S$23,135.47

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(2) PayPal (royngerng@gmail.com): S$4,627.89

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(3) Customers at my dad’s carrot cake stall: S$200

My dad sells carrot cake at Block 107 in Ang Mo Kio. Some people had visited my dad’s stall to pass him some contributions.

A man gave my dad S$200 for the fund raising yesterday. Thank you for your help!

Some people have also said that they would like to visit my dad’s stall to eat the carrot cake. Just to let you know, he is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from about 4pm to about 11pm/midnight.

The funds coming in have slowed down. But as long as there are funds coming in, I will update them on the blog.

First Installment Payment Made to Prime Minister

Yesterday, I also made the first installment payment of S$100 to the prime minister. (Two weeks ago, I paid him S$30,000 for the costs.)

I have to pay him S$100 every month from April 1 2016, for 5 years. Thereafter from 2021, I have to pay him S$1,000 every month until the S$150,000 in damages are paid off.

Below are some posts I made on my Facebook and I thought to share them here. 

Singapore Flag

Here are all the basic statistics you need to know about the socioeconomic situation in Singapore. Read this and understand what is at stake for your life in Singapore.

(If you need to just read one thing to understand what’s really going on in Singapore, all you need is to read this to know the economic truths in Singapore.)

On healthcare:

On education:

On retirement:

On unemployment benefits:

On wages:

On taxes:

I will just leave this here. I will stop writing for a while. I didn’t know that people close to me were hurting from what I have been doing. People have even asked them how they raised their son.

I cannot keep hurting the people who love me the most.

People can read and make up their own minds of what’s happening here, and what they need to do.

You can also read and share the above via Facebook: 

You can also read the following links:

Thank You for Your Support for the Fund Raising

As of this morning, a total of $$29,477.36 has been raised. I still have to pay another S$149,900 to the prime minister.

If you would also like to help to defray the costs and damages, you can also fund raise to the bank account at POSB Savings Bank Account 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling) or PayPal at royngerng@gmail.com. Thank you.

The funds coming in have slowed down. But for transparency, I will continue to update on the funds raised and used, on this blog.

Meanwhile, I have also attached my LinkedIn profile here, if it might be of interest. I was fired after I was sued – the hospital that I worked at and the Ministry of Health, Singapore sent out press releases to support the firing, with the hospital alluding to the defamation suit.

If you have a job opening, scholarship or fellowship, please feel free to contact me on the opportunities. I would be grateful if you do so. I am open to working overseas as well.

View Roy Ngerng's profile on LinkedIn

View Roy Ngerng's LinkedIn profile View Roy Ngerng’s profile

*****

Background: In 2014, I was sued by the Singapore prime minister for defamation. The judge ruled in a summary judgment that I have defamed him. I have apologised to the prime minister. I was ordered to pay damages of S$150,000 to him. In a settlement reached with the help of my lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, I am to pay an additional S$30,000 in costs. In total, including the previous payment that I have made to the costs of the summary judgment (S$29,000) and application for the Queen’s Counsel (S$6,000), I would have paid/will pay S$215,000. 

Two weeks ago, I have paid the first tranche of S$30,000 (of the S$180,000) to the prime minister. From April 1, 2016, for the next 5 years, I have to pay $100 every month. Thereafter, from 2021, I have to pay $1,000 every month until I finish paying.

You can read the previous updates here: [One] [Two] [Three] [Four] [Five] [Six] [Seven] [Eight] [Nine] [Ten] [Eleven] [Twelve] [Thirteen] [Fourteen]. I would like to thank Mothership.sg for reporting about the fund raising. 

You can also read the previous update on the funds raised in 2014 and its usage. I would like to thank The Straits Times for reporting about it. There were also inaccurate online reports that the funds were used to pay overseas trips. This is untrue. You can read more about these in the update here.