BERLIN Oct 6 Germany will start talks with
Singapore next week on a deal to prevent its citizens from
evading taxes by shifting their money to the Asian state, a
government source said on Saturday.
During a visit to Asia next week, German Finance Minister
Wolfgang Schaeuble will fly to Singapore, the region's prominent
wealth management centre, to try to negotiate an agreement with
the government, the source said.
According to media reports, there are signs German tax
dodgers are shifting funds to Singapore from Switzerland, which
signed a tax deal with Germany earlier this year.
The source said hopes were high that Singapore would agree
to give German authorities information on assets held in the
country by wealthy German citizens as it had stressed earlier
this year it did not tolerate tax evasion.
"We are acting on the assumption that Singapore is pursuing
a clean money strategy," the source said.
Singapore's central bank said in August it had warned banks
last year to guard against funds being transferred into the
island state to evade taxation elsewhere, with an eye to new tax
treaties being implemented in Europe.
It did not tolerate such flows, and Singapore was
cooperating with other countries to prevent abuse of its
financial system, a spokeswoman for the Monetary Authority of
Switzerland and Germany hammered out a new deal in April to
confront tax evasion, but the centre-left SPD opposition has
said it will block the pact in the upper house of parliament as
it is too lenient on tax dodgers.
One of the SPD's criticisms has been that, as it stands, the
agreement would allow people to evade taxes by taking their
money out of Switzerland before the deal takes effect.
(Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann; Writing by Sarah Marsh;
Editing by Catherine Evans)