Apr 28, 2007

Lee Kuan Yew's Laughable Matter

An article from Today:

Extradition treaty will not harm banks, property: MM
Wednesday • April 25, 2007
By Lee U-Wen

THE agreement between Singapore and Indonesia to sign an extradition treaty will not scare wealthy Indonesians away from Singapore, nor will the pact harm the Republic's banking and property sectors.

Making these points yesterday, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said the treaty — to be signed in Bali on Friday — would, rather, "act as an inhibitor".

"It's laughable. Do you believe that any Indonesian who was likely to be extradited would be here at all? (The treaty) acts as an inhibitor, and does give an extra barrier for any would-be escapee from their system," he said in an interview with Reuters before gracing the opening of its new office at One Raffles Quay.
Lee Kuan Yew's "laughable" remark might soon indeed turn out to be, errr, laughable. On Tuesday, he told us that it's very unlikely that any wanted Indonesians are here in Singapore at all.

However,
Forbes quickly reported that Singapore is believed to be "a haven for as many as 200 Indonesians suspected of embezzlement, many of whom fled [Indonesia] with stolen funds as the banking system collapsed in 1997."

Today is Saturday, and we learn from the Straits Times itself that in fact, the Indonesia government already has 18 specific individuals living in Singapore that they want to investigate:



ST April 28, 2007
Indonesia to go after 18 suspects

BALI - INDONESIA plans to 'go after' about 18 people living in Singapore following the signing of an extradition treaty with the Republic, Attorney-General Abdul Rahman Saleh told reporters yesterday.

'There are a lot of Indonesian assets in Singapore. We need to ask for those assets to be returned.'

Indonesia has said that the treaty would allow Jakarta to chase down alleged corrupt officials and businessmen from the time of former dictator Suharto.

Deputy Attorney-General Hendarman Supanji said a list of 20 people - 'suspected, accused or convicted' - had been drawn up and would be handed to Singapore almost as soon as the signing was over, he told reporters in Jakarta.

Indonesian Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said last Sept 25 that an extradition treaty would help track down six Indonesian businessmen living in Singapore with US$600 million (S$910 million) in government debts.

Some 18,000 Indonesians, with a total net worth of US$87 billion, are said to be living in Singapore.

Mr Teten Masduki, founder of Indonesia Corruption Watch, believes tens of billions of US dollars have been stockpiled in the Republic since the 1997 financial crisis.

Jakarta had accused Singapore of delaying the treaty for fear that the suspects' withdrawals would shake its financial system and property sector.

Singapore had denied it was a magnet for laundered funds, saying adequate safeguards were in place.

LKY has been insisting that Singapore has "very strict rules to prevent money-laundering". That's his way of saying that there is no dirty Indonesian money in Singapore. I do agree with Lee that Singapore's anti-money laundering rules are strict. Our rules satisfy the international standards set by the Financial Task Force Action on Money Laundering.

Today the MAS has regulations that spell out in great detail all the anti-money laundering procedures that banks in Singapore must follow. For example, there are rules about checking on the customer's true identity; keeping proper records of his transactions; verifying his sources of funds; and reporting any suspicious transactions to the authorities.

However, there is something which Lee didn't tell you. So Mr Wang will have to do the job again.

These anti-money laundering rules basically came into existence only in November 2002. It was all part of a worldwide response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The concern was that terrorist groups could secretly be using banks to finance their activities. All over the world, countries including Singapore then began to pay serious attention to the need to implement anti-money laundering rules for their financial institutions.

The point is that prior to November 2002,
MAS Notice 626 on the Prevention of Money Laundering simply didn't exist. In those days, Singapore, like most other countries in the world, simply didn't take money laundering as seriously as it does now.

It is alleged that corrupt Indonesians had fled to Singapore after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and deposited their illegal money into our banking system. This sounds quite plausible to me. Singapore would have been a natural destination, because it is so close to Indonesia.

And in those days, our banks simply wouldn't have had any standard systems, processes or policies to deal with the situation. Back then, it may not even have been improper for the bank to simply accept the money and say thank you, no further questions.

So when Lee Kuan Yew says that Singapore has "very strict rules to prevent money-laundering", what this means is that today, we have very strict rules to prevent money-laundering. We didn't have these rules in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 or 2001 - the critical years, from Indonesia's point of view.

These would have been the years when the corrupt Indonesians urgently needed to flush their dirty money through our financial system, to conceal its origins and "wash" it clean. In other words, money laundering.

67 comments:

Eye-opener said...

Mr Wang,

Thank you for telling us what LKY and our "first class" propaganda news paper has so conveniently omitted. Without you pointing it out, I would have thought that the strict measures for anti-money laundering were there since day one.

simplesandra said...

"THE agreement between Singapore and Indonesia to sign an extradition treaty will not scare wealthy Indonesians away from Singapore, nor will the pact harm the Republic's banking and property sectors."

Sounds almost like an admission...I mean, assurance, that there's something wrong... I mean, nothing wrong here.

If Singapore is clean, and all the Indonesian investors here are clean, why the need to even make this assurance? :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear MW,

Can i ask what is the impact (positive, negative) on the ordinary SG folks with regards to this issue when the indonesian folks put $xxx billions into our banks?

Anonymous said...

"If Singapore is clean, and all the Indonesian investors here are clean, why the need to even make this assurance? :-)"

"There are no 300 taels of silver buried here."

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Can i ask what is the impact (positive, negative) on the ordinary SG folks with regards to this issue when the indonesian folks put $xxx billions into our banks?"

The direct effect is not on ordinary SG folks, but on the SG banks.

In simple terms, this is how commercial banks do business - they collect deposits (eg fixed deposits, savings accounts etc) and pay interest;

and then they lend out the money at a higher interest rate to borrowers (eg mortgages, renovation loan, corporate loans, credit cards, ship finance, property loans).

The more money the Indonesians deposit with banks in Singapore (assuming that they indeed do so), the more money banks have, to lend out. That is, the SG banks can do more business and make more money.

Eventually there would be other spin-offs for the Singapore economy. Because the Indonesians would not simply leave their money in the bank. Eventually they would shift the money into other investments, eg buying property, or unit trusts, or stocks etc. So along the way, Singapore's property agents, stock brokers, fund managers etc etc make money too.

The Indonesians may also use their money to do legitimate business in Singapore. Eg set up a company in Singapore, and use the money as capital for the company to do business ---> economic growth for Singapore.

In a sense, when dirty money washes into our system, the effects are about the same as clean money washing into the system. It's like foreigners coming to invest billions of dollars in Singapore, except that in the case of the Indonesians, the money is (supposedly) from obtained from illegal sources.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Oh, need I add, all this would make Indonesia poorer. Because the money has been siphoned out of their country.

sÞ¡ηηєє said...

u're very right, mr wang. being in the banking industry, i can't help but to agree what u've said.

in fact, a lot of banks had a lot (tons) of indonesian clients particularly in priority/private banking.

in fact, in the past, it was seriously very 'rude' of the bank/financial institutions to ask where is the source of funds. even they do, it's only on records purposes e.g. if the client mentioned it's from another bank, the receiving bank will not call up to autheticate.

and there are really many ways to launder money... and quite easy.

oh yes, sgp is one of the rare countries that accept cash for securities transactions as well, in case no one knows...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr. Wang for all these interesting insights. I appreciate you bringing political awareness to the masses via your blog :)

Anonymous said...

If businessmen want to park money in Singapore, they would have to do real research into how to put money in and TAKE money out. Loopholes would be discovered in the course of this research. So, how obvious are the loopholes would be how clear or unclear are the laws of the day. No businessman wants to go to jail or cannot spend "his" money. Now, who creates the laws here?

HaveAHacks said...

Seems to me that one of the assumptions here is that there is such a thing as "money laundering" and that it is somehow immoral. Frankly speaking, how "clean" is any money ? Can any lawyer ask too many questions about where his client is going to get the money to pay him ?

You think any American bankers will have any guilt about accepting ex-Enron executives' money ? Or dealing with hedge funds, regardless of whether those funds caused the suffering of millions of people during the Asian currency crisis ?

Cash transactions are good. There's no more reason to allow the government to trace money flows than there is to allow them to track where you are going - which is what they will be able to do when satellite-based ERP is launched.

I notice even Mr Wang toes the line that anti-money laundering rules were introduced to prevent terrorism. So far, I see more evidence that the US is trying to use its control of the world banking system to put the squeeze on Iran and N Korea.

your loyal reader said...

what do you expect MM to say? What he says is not wrong.

He has a duty to say what he says.

It's the same with those immigration stuffs.

This is why they are called politician.

They need to say those things. Their agenda is clear.

But by picking bones with what they say, what's your agenda? is it really about "enlightening" your readers?

By "enlightening" them, you are saying that MM was hiding certain information and not forthcoming and has the intentin to mislead.

bone said...

your loyal reader,
The glass maybe half empty to you. But it maybe half full to me. So my version being different from yours am i, as you said, "picking bones"? By suggesting i am picking bones, what is your intention?

Real Blog Reader said...

Politicans will say whatever they have to say to match the mood of the day. We will have to accept the way politicans talk. As one man has said, welcome to the real world. Did they hide anything? Did they lie? Only they know.

Mr Lee said what he has to say about the treaty for the day. He is not wrong, in his capacity of a politican. What Mr Wang presented is a timeline of factual events. We learn from this timeline.

We, as readers of this blog, will have to use our free minds to form our own opinions based on the information presented.

That is all. I have no bone to pick.

Anonymous said...

Two points:

1. Even the current money laundering rules are focused on preventing funding for terrorism. I wonder how strict they are for other forms of "dirty" money.

2. Take a poll of your private banking friends whom you trust. Ask if a client offers to wire in $10m in funds, how many actually ask questions? And how many will ask any more questions if the client then says he will wire it to your competitor instead.

Anonymous said...

Why take the moral high ground Mr Wang. You essentially benefit by working in an industry that accepts so called "laundered" money. MM Lee protects Singapore's interest. You condemned the system and yet work within it and benefitting from it. What hypocrisy!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,
What you say are just too true.

OUr MMLee and its pappies always let their words speak louder than action when it come to welfare and treatment of citizen. But when it comes to money, money and money to themselves, all of sudden, the action speak louder than words !!!!

These MMLee and his whities can continue to feed propaganda but they will not be able deceive us all the time.

I too planning migration to Australia where I can learn to appreciate nature and worldly'good thing than money thing.

Mr Wang Says So said...

If businessmen want to park money in Singapore, they would have to do real research into how to put money in and TAKE money out. Loopholes would be discovered in the course of this research. So, how obvious are the loopholes would be how clear or unclear are the laws of the day. No businessman wants to go to jail or cannot spend "his" money. Now, who creates the laws here?

I think what you're trying to say is that corrupt Indonesians would not have come to Singapore in the years 1997 - 2001 because they would have done their research and found that they could be in trouble in Singapore.

I'm not so sure about that. Firstly, if they needed to get out of Indonesia very fast, Singapore is already a good choice because it's so near, and traditionally have many business relationships. Taking a flight to S'pore, opening an account here, depositing money and then returning home to Jakarta could basically be done in 2 days, perhaps 1. You'll see that it would be much more problematic for the Indonesian trying to do the same with Switzerland or New York.

Secondly, you have to understand that if you commit a crime in one country, that act usually would not constitute a crime in another country. Most criminal laws (not all) are restricted to their own jurisdiction.

For example, if an Indonesian citizen accepts a bribe in Indonesia, this would not constitute a crime in Singapore, simply because our Prevention of Corruption Act applies to (i) acts done within Singapore, and (ii) acts done by Singapore citizens.

So if an Indonesian does something illegal in Indonesia and then comes to Singapore, it does not necessarily follow that he would or could be prosecuted for anything in Singapore.

Hence the Indonesian government wants an extadition treaty, which basically means that the Singapore government helps to send the suspect back to Indonesia where he will be dealt with under Indonesian's own legal system.

Another key point that you may have missed, even though I had already said it in my post, is that in 1997 - 2001, a bank which accepted the money from any such Indonesians may not have done anything illegal or improper under our own laws, as they stood in those years.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Seems to me that one of the assumptions here is that there is such a thing as "money laundering" and that it is somehow immoral."

Sure there is such a thing is money laundering. You can click on my links and read it for yourself.

In fact it is mandatory for every employee in a bank in Singapore to attend an anti-money laundering once a year, every year. That is a mandatory requirement under MAS 626.

Oh yes, the requirement came into effect after November 2002.

As for the immorality of it, well, I'd rather not go into morals and the law, because it tends to lead to unnecessarily complicated discussions.

But anti-money laundering is basically targeted at organised crime - including drug syndicates, terrorist groups and the Yakuza (Citibank came under heavy fire from the authorities in Tokyo, for allowing a Yakuza laundering transactin to happen - Citibank CEO Chuck Prince had to publicly kowtow to the press and authorities in Japan to apologise - also part of Citibank's business operations were suspended in Tokyo).

Frankly speaking, how "clean" is any money ? Can any lawyer ask too many questions about where his client is going to get the money to pay him ?

In Singapore, lawyers aren't directly subject to AML legislation - I think that there is little need here.

Lawyers are paid for the services they render. Whereas in AML world, what we're concerned about is money moving around suspiciously for no obvious reason, eg it's not being used to pay for anything.

You think any American bankers will have any guilt about accepting ex-Enron executives' money ?

Well, in Singapore, individual bank employees (that is, the employee himself) could be punished with up to 10 years imprisonment and a personal fine of $100,000 for touching such money. Would you?

Oh, by the way, that particular legislation in Singapore also came into effect post 911, that is, it didn't exist in the years 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 ...

I notice even Mr Wang toes the line that anti-money laundering rules were introduced to prevent terrorism. So far, I see more evidence that the US is trying to use its control of the world banking system to put the squeeze on Iran and N Korea.

Errr, you're mistaken. FATF rules and AML legislation are not being used to dqueeze North Korea. International sanctions are being used. That's a different tool altogether.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"what do you expect MM to say? What he says is not wrong."

Certainly he's not wrong. In fact, as I had already said, I agree with him that Singapore has strict rules on anti-money laundering. This should have the effect of deterring new dirty money flowing into Singapore from Indonesia.

However I'm pointing out that Lee's comment cannot be extrapolated to the 1997 - 2001 years. And it turns out that this is the era that the Indonesian government is in fact very interested in investigating.

But by picking bones with what they say, what's your agenda? is it really about "enlightening" your readers?

By "enlightening" them, you are saying that MM was hiding certain information and not forthcoming and has the intentin to mislead."


That's your interpretation. Who knows? Perhaps MM Lee DIDN'T know that the Indonesian government is interested in investigating individuals for crimes in the post-1997 period. Note: MM Lee made his remark on Tuesday, whereas the Indonesian government only mentioned their list of 18 individuals a few days LATER, on Friday.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"You essentially benefit by working in an industry that accepts so called "laundered" money."

Nonsense. My first job in a bank was in December 2002, after MAS 626 had come into effect.

By the way, I was in the Legal & Compliance team. Thus I was directly involved in anti-money laundering efforts. In fact, part of my job was to analyse reports of allegedly suspicious transactions, see if anything fishy or criminal-looking is going on, and if so, to report confidential reports to the authorities (MAS and CAD). Ahhh, now you know the relevance of my prior DPP experience.

jojo said...

Mr Wang,

Is there the possibility that some of these Indonesians being investigated are being targeted for reasons other than "corruption"? A lot of ethnic Chinese Indonesian businessmen were victims of mob action in 1997/1998, and one wonders if some of the present pursuit is an extension of that.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang: many of the stuff u're writing may be against the ethics and conduct protocol (eg NDA) of yr past and present employers. So how moral and ethical are you really?
Frankly, if any "hot" Indon money did cruise thru S'pore post-97, it would have long gone. That's why it's called hot money, dude!

Anonymous said...

Just pondering if the extradiction agreement had been suddenly expedited due some timely developments> The ban on sand and granite exports to Singapore could potentially lead to more acrimonies in diplomatic and commercial relationships which could in turn lead to conflicts> As for money launderings< they are long suspected here and can we say the next rounds of monies coming in from the emerging Asian Giants for washings will indeed be beyond the capacity of Singapore to handle> Those money launderings however will caused much more challenging hardships for the man in the street> The sin monies generated are likely to drive and push up the costs of living beyond the abilities of most to cope with! See the needs to prepare oneself for the days ahead? Time to get helps to find a way out of Singalore or be prepared to slave for survival and existence!

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Frankly, if any "hot" Indon money did cruise thru S'pore post-97, it would have long gone."

At the least, a lot of it would have become impossible to trace.

The basic model of how money laundering takes place is a three-part process.

The first stage is known as placement - the process of getting the funds into the banking system.

The second stage is known as layering - the process of executing a series of financial transactions which really have no purpose except to disguise the original origins of the money and make any investigation very, very difficult.

(Eg after successful placement of 10 million dollars into a savings account; you switch 5 mio into another currency; you move another 3 mio into your mistress's account; then you move it into an fixed deposit; you take the last two million and move it into your shell company's bank account, then you move part of it back to your savings account; then you move part of it into your other savings account; then you move another couple of million into another bank on the pretext that you're unhappy with the customer service standards of the first bank, then you do X and Y and Z ...)

At the end of a successful 2nd stage, no one can trace where your money originally came from and it will be quite difficult to see where all of it has gone.

The 3rd stage is called integration. Here your dirty money is integrated with your honest money, all mixed up together, and channeled into legitimate investments/purchases. Eg you buy a house for investment purposes; you buy a million dollars of stocks; you put a few million into unit trusts; you inject a few million dollars of capital into your company which does legitimate business - the money is used to pay your employees, factory rental etc etc.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"You condemned the system .."

Sorry, what system did I condemn? Please explain. Maybe you'd like to highlight the words I used which are of a "condemning" nature.

Mr Wang Says So said...

many of the stuff u're writing may be against the ethics and conduct protocol (eg NDA) of yr past and present employers.

I don't think so. The stuff I am writing is basically public knowledge in the public domain.

Lee Kuan Yew's speech is public. The ST article is public. Forbes' article is public. FATF website is public. MAS Notice 626 is public. Go to the MAS website and read for yourself, lor. I gave you the link already.

Anonymous said...

In the first world, the job of "keeping the bastard honest" is the main job of the FREE media. The level of scrutiny is intense. No politicians can hope to get away with telling half truths let alone lies. Even the intention and agenda behind it are analysed. Anything and everything a politician said in public n sometime in private were recorded and achived.
The media in Singapore has failed miserably in this role. LKY has manipulated and subjugated the media to serve his and his party's selfish interest at the expense of Singaporeans.
Mr. Wang must be congratulated for devoting his time to fill a small part of this huge vacuum.
Many including LKY did not realise the great damage this controlled media has caused and is causing to the minds of Singaporeans. First, they are less well informed. Second, they do not develop the subconscious ability to analysis critically. Third, they are conditioned to accept willingly what the media printed as the ultimate truth.
The way those pro-pap people who posted here to criticise Mr. Wang is a good examaple of the type of mindset and the quality of critical thinking that is prevalent even in the top echelon of the establishment.
Will the pro-pap people take Mr. Wang on the specific points and arguments he raised than to comdemn him wholesale.

Anonymous said...

THANKS Mr Wang!!

Tomis said...

Did someone say that the money which flowed into SG made the Indons poorer by the same amount?

Even if the dirty money had stayed within Indonesia, would it be made available to the population at large?

Obviously the amount would still be held on tightly by the owners and it would have gone to Switzerland.

Mr Wang Says So said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Wang Says So said...

Even if the dirty money had stayed within Indonesia, would it be made available to the population at large?

No, of course not. The first thing is that the person still needs to be investigated, charged, & successfully prosecuted in Indonesia.

The next step would be to seize the assets (eg his houses, land, shares, investments) which represent his criminal gains.

The difference is that if the person and the assets were still in Indonesia, it would be easier for the Indonesian authorities to arrest him and seize the assets.

If those assets were in another country (eg Singapore or Switzerland), that becomes much more difficult for the Indonesian authorities.

That's why Indonesia has signed extradition treaties with the governments of many different countries. It needs their cooperation to deal with the criminals and get the assets back.

Among Indonesia's neighbouring countries, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have already signed such treaties with Indonesia, effectively promising their help and assistance to Indonesia.

Singapore, as you know, took a long time and finally signed the treaty on Friday.

Mum & Baby G said...

Mr Wang, ur recent posts are all about MM...haha

Mr Wang Says So said...

I noticed too. It's just because he's been unusually active in the past week or so, making so many speeches on so many topics.

Anonymous said...

LKY is not doing credit to Singaporeans including himself by making silly talks on the world stage.
The sooner he stop dictating to his successors and concentrate on enjoying his retirement with his family, the better it is for all.

Real Blog Reader said...

"Another key point that you may have missed, even though I had already said it in my post, is that in 1997 - 2001, a bank which accepted the money from any such Indonesians may not have done anything illegal or improper under our own laws, as they stood in those years."

Hi, Mr Wang. I wrote the passage that you responded. Sorry that I did not put it properly.

In those years, these "corrupted" men would need to find safe havens to escape or to transfer monies, before they embark on their "corruption trails". Of course, after reviewing the options (or the loopholes), they found Singapore seems to be ideal and back then, Singapore is eager to to be the next international financial hub.

It is strange that they choose this "fine city", unless they have found "incentives" to do so.

And thank you, for the timeline.

KuKuBoY said...

oh well... we all know LKY is still in charge.

Who in the PAP dares to speak up against him in any serious manner? Do so and u'll end up in jail or bankrupt on the streets.

doesn't matter that his son is PM, LKY is still the boss. And he'll be the boss as long as he's around, possibly even after his son steps down.

Anonymous said...

Other than the fact that those corrupt money is difficult to be traced, I found out that some of the corrupt officials and businessmen have either got out of Singapore to other countries or become Singapore citizen.

(Is this why he dare to say that it's hard to believe that any Indonesian who was likely to be extradited would be in Singapore at all?)

If really that was the case, the treaty might not be useful at all to recover the money. It is only useful for the future possible event as mentioned in the article.

I was wondering whether there is any relationship between the time taken to agree to sign the treaty and the disappearance of any corrupt 'Indonesians'.

Heh.

Anonymous said...

don't think so. The stuff I am writing is basically public knowledge in the public domain.

Lee Kuan Yew's speech is public. The ST article is public. Forbes' article is public. FATF website is public. MAS Notice 626 is public. Go to the MAS website and read for yourself, lor. I gave you the link already.


Dearie MrWang, u're being deliberately obtuse. What I was suggesting is yr tracking isn't that of a passer by but that of an insider ie u used insider or privieged info. QED.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Heheh. Really? Tell me, what insider information did I tell you?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang

Is the basic model of how money laundering takes place an insider information

I read it here.

C2D said...

Looks like LKY still has many fans and they sure seems riled up! LOL

To these PAPanons, please do yourselves a favour when you are posting, look deeper into matters and display a little critical thinking, can?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Mr Wang

Is the basic model of how money laundering takes place an insider information


You mean the 3-stage process? Nah. You can read it in Paragraph 2 of MAS Notice 626 available on MAS website.

It's also on Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering (see under the heading entitled "Process")

If you type the words "placement layering integration" into Google, you also get 1,080,000 hits.

http://www.google.com.sg/search?hl=en&q=placement+layering+integration&meta=

Real Blog Reader said...

OMG, Mr Wang gives "insider information" on the net, you sure?

But, I try this "money laundering techniques" and Google give me 1 million plus "insider" hits. And the first thing I get is:

http://www.crimes-of-persuasion.com/Criminals/layering.htm

Oh my, "insider information" is all over the net. Quick, quick, call the police now...

Anonymous said...

Interesting! MUST one be an insider to understand the process and method of money laundering? So are all those money launderers insiders? And acted in cahoot? Btw< some have mentioned that PM Lee will step down< history(local) has shown that Singapore PMs get paid higher when they stepped down and got themselves more authoritative titles< do not think that they retired!

geriatric_eunuch said...

Dear , dear, Mr W, words cannot begin to convey how much I owe you for this timely piece of information. Thanks to your illicit insider knowlege, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the off-shore banking haven and I've since arranged to launder my $290 monthly stipend according to your strategy.

There was a time when I was content to carefully secrete the money between the pages of "The Plen - My Part In His Downfall" on the grounds that it would be never be discovered there - but no more! You'll be tickled pink to know that I've followed your instructions to the letter and shuffled the dosh between 3, yes 3, yum cha POSB accounts to baffle the bloodhounds of the Revenue. You were a little careless not to emphasise cash at every step to avoid any possibility of generating a paper trail, but I forgive you.

Stage 2, layering, did present a slight problem as my mistress made it known in no uncertain terms that there would be absolutely no layering permitted into her bank account without first having laid her other account, if you get my drift. A step too far, thought I, for who knows what unforseen chaos that might have caused to the nation's carefully balanced population policy? Is it not written that the mere flap of a flutterby's wings in Bintan could give rise to a dangerous pain-in-the-posterior in Syonan?

Despair. But just as the friendly wheels of a passing MRT beckoned, a kindly meesiam hawker cried out "eh, uncle, want to invest in my harm concession or not?" and I realised that there is a God after all. Yes indeedy, the perfect shell company to lose my dirty dollars in. I shan't bore you with the detail of the odd buck stashed here and there, nor the cunning stunt at the kwayteowman's stall, but suffice it to say that my dough has been washed so white it could easily pass for an MP's outfit on National Day.

I have to say that am SO looking forward to the final stage. Rather than illiquid investments like property, I thought something rather less transparent, less easily garnished, perhaps? You really can't be too careful these days, what with extradition treaties being waved around like 4 million smiling faces, eh? Something suitably opaque would be perfect - say, a tracker fund mirroring Temasek's portfolio, 18% returns per annum since dinosaurs ruled the earth. "Where the bee sucks there suck I" is a prudent approach, I think.

You can see it won't be too long before I inherit the earth and its peanuts, Mr Wang, and all without quitting for pastures new. Best of all it'll all be so tightly integrated as to disappear up its own fundament and forensic accountants won't have a clue. Today I take Sentosa, tomorrow, heh, tomorrow I take New York!

Of course I owe it all to you (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more) and shall surely name my first-born in your honour. I was all set to follow Johnny Cash's advice in A Boy Named Sue and call my lad Vivian to toughen him up for the long and winding road ahead, but now there's little need. For he will be - wait for it - ELITE.

Once again, thank you, good night, and may your laundering God go with you.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, I love your Google remark about 1,080,000 hits.

The score now is 5-0, Mr Wang has 5 goals, the PAPanons have zero.

I advise the PAPanons to just give up. :)

Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that there are people who believe that Indonesians in serious troubles with laws in their home country after embezzling billions will settle down in Singapore. It is as if after stealing millions from the Singapore Government I decide to just run across the causeway and buy a nice big house in JB. Get real. The impact of the treaty on Singapore's economy will be negligible. But the defence treaty we got in return will be very useful.

Anonymous said...

Actually, until last Friday, Singapore would have been the best choice in the region, for such Indonesians.

Why? Because other countries in the region, like Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, had all already signed extradition treaties promising to help the Indonesian government deal with such criminals.

Singapore was the slowest country to agree to sign such a treaty. It wouldn't even sign until it was arm-twisted by the sand ban.

So of course it is the best place in the region for the Indonesians to run to.

(Until last Friday).

Anonymous said...

So a hot, humid (and to many people boring) island that has close relationship with Indonesia and surrounded by countries that already have extradiction treaty with Indonesia is 'ideal'? Come on, if you have billions and thinks that the Indon Govt is out to get you, there are much better places to enjoy your ill-gotten gains. Bahamas for instance?

Believe me, we won't be arm-twisted by the sand ban. It only hurts a bit in the short run. The land cost in Singapore is so high that sand cost is always going to be small in the overall project cost -- well within the contingency sum that most project managers would have built in. And sand is certainly not the rarest commodity that can be bought with money.

Btw anyone can enlighten me on how many corrupt politicians or businessmen have indeed been extradicted from places like HK and Malaysia?

Mr Wang Says So said...

HK and Malaysia, I don't know. Australia - I do know of one case, not sure if there are others.

$642,000 of the laundered money was recovered in Australia and repaid to the Indonesian government.

The suspect was an Indonesian; it was a corruption case. Australian enforcement agencies worked with Indonesian authorities to track him down and arrest him in Australia. He died, however, before they could extradite him.

http://www.kbri-canberra.org.au/press/040420e.pdf

Silly chap. He should have run away to a country that didn't have an extradition treaty with Indonesia and didn't want to sign one.

Anonymous said...

My thesis is that the extradiction treaty is useless to Indonesia in their fight against corruption and of little harm to Singapore.

But as usual, Singapore drives a hard bargain, and manages to get a 25-year treaty on 'defence cooperation' which basically means giving the SAF a chance to train in a big area without lugging all the heavy equipment to places like Australia.

And of course the Indonesia government wants the extradiction treaty to prove to its people that it has done something against corruption. Signing a treaty is presumably easier than going after the well-connected big fishes that are already living in Indonesia to begin with.

Next thing they do will be to blame Singapore for the implementation of the treaty in failing to bring any big fishes back. But we understand how the game is played and will live with the noise (and the defence treaty).

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Mr Wang Says So said...

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Mr Wang Says So said...

I deleted those two comments because they refer to specific Indonesians living in S'pore and the first comment, in particular, says that those Indonesians have committed certain crimes.

That sounds defamatory, until such time that the crimes are proven. Till then they are just suspects (actually I don't know if they are even on that list of 18 suspects)

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Sorry for the inconvenience, MW! :-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like the rest of the Indonesian leadership - including all their bloody Generals- aren't as rotten a six month old papaya stuck in a dung heap. For fcuk sake people, Indonesia just wants to go after the Indonesians staying in our country because they are ethnic Chinese and didn't pay enough bribes to the idiot army generals. To say that Indonesia has any moral regard is totally laughable. I fart in your general direction!

Yau-ming's blog!! said...
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Anonymous said...

how true is it that those monies belong to the indonesian government?

Anonymous said...

Who cares if the money is clean or not? We can just use it to boost our economy growth and also the $$ is safer here.

After the nasty things they did to the ethnic chinese during the 1998 riots, the more we should welcome them here!

Mr Wang Says So said...

I know the names of some of those people who are probably on the list. If you googled hard enough, you'd know too.

No, they certainly aren't all ethnic Chinese. That's all I have to say.

For now. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey lets not forget the Chinese Indonesians who were murdered in the 1950s - 1960s too, esp. in October 1965 when Suharto and his military murdered over 200,000 thousand Chinese people and threw thousands more in jail.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, supposing we were really a money laundering haven and whatever the western media said is true (and I believe of course that every cent in the Swiss, American and British banks is clean and pure, nothing to do with ill-gotten gains or war spoils for sure), why would the extradition treaty not help?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Sure it would help, with any recent money laundering attempts. However, it would probably be too late for money laundering done years again. The money would probably be successfully laundered (ie not traceable any more).

Anonymous said...

It makes me wonder what is indonesia going to do with the money? feed openly corrupt politicians, eg Minister for " i need money otherwise the forests will burn" environment?

Anonymous said...

2007 popn lineup:
China (1.3b); US (0.3b); Sin (4.5m).
China/Sin: 286x; China/US: 4.33x; US/Sin: 65.9x;
PM Sin pay $2.5m US; $percap: 0.5
US President pay $0.4 m US; $percap: 0.0013
US/Sin: 6.26 pay
US/Sin: pay per capita: 37500%; Sin at 100%;
China GIC per cap: $1000 US;
Sin GIC per cap: $28552;
Sin/China GIC per cap: 2855%; Sin at 100%!
GIC: Govt invested company
E&OE

Anonymous said...

Please delete the previous comment. Wish to make arithmetic correction:
Please pay attention to per capita (per head from Latin) numbers as they are more meaningful.
2007 popn lineup:
China (1.3b); US (0.3b); Sin (4.5m).
China/Sin: 286x; China/US: 4.33x; US/Sin: 65.9x;
GDP/PCAP: China: US$8,928; USA: US$45,144; Sin: $35,817
PMSin pay US$2.5m; US$percap: 0.55; PMSin gets this pay per year from everyone in Singapore.
USPresident pay US$0.4m; US$percap: 0.0013; USPr gets this pay from everyone in USA.
SinPM gross pay: 6.26x USPr
SinPM pay per capita: 411.8x USPr.
China GLC per cap: US$1,000;
Sin GLC per cap: US$28,552;
Sin GLC per cap: 28.55x of China.
GLC: Govt linked company
Interpretation: Based on per cap income, USPr will need to work 411.8 years for one year SinPM worked. Conversely, since in one year everyman has 24/7 x 52wks; USPr is stressed out 411.8 times that compared with Sin PM.
If SinPM were to get his pay per cap as that of USPr, Sin PM will receive: US$6,070.
Pay/GDP/CAP: US Pr: 8.86x; Sin PM: 69.8x. This means USPr makes 8.86 times GDP/CAP(USA); SinPM makes 69.8 times GDP/CAP(Sin).
E&OE