Sunday, February 25

Singapore director of 980 firms jailed for fraud neglect: BT

A Singaporean director of 980 companies in the city-state was sentenced to four weeks in jail after some of the companies he supervised were discovered to be laundering money, the Business Times reported.

Xie Yong, 37, had offered accounting and corporate services to foreign clients — mostly from China — who wanted to incorporate companies in Singapore, according to the report Wednesday, citing a court hearing.

The case again highlights gaps that can be exploited when incorporating local companies, and underscores authorities’ efforts to clamp down on them. Authorities in the Asian financial hub earlier this year seized more than S$2.8 billion ($2.1 billion) of assets in its largest-ever money laundering case, though Xie’s case is unrelated.

The city-state has been looking into effects of a loophole that helped many of the accused in the massive laundering scandal start businesses. According to the country’s law, foreigners must hire a citizen or permanent resident as an authorized representative to set up a company. To meet this demand, some locals have become serial directors, representing hundreds of firms at the same time.

Authorities have said that the lack of limits on the number of directorships is in line with international standards, and that the bulk of directors — 99% — hold fewer than 10. Still, restrictions are now being mulled, with proposed rule changes set to be tabled in parliament next year, authorities said.

Xie had faced 49 charges and was fined S$57,000 on Monday, according to the court. – Bloomberg

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