SINGAPORE (AFP) – France on Friday lauded Singapore for entering into a new pact that tightens measures against foreign tax cheats seeking to hide their assets in the Asian financial hub.
The revised agreement on double taxation, signed late Thursday by French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and his counterpart Tharman Shanmugaratnam, seeks to promote business ties between the two countries while plugging tax loopholes.
“We must improve information exchange between our two countries,” Sapin told AFP on Friday in written remarks, before leaving for Indonesia as part of an Asian tour that also includes Japan.
“Our relations are already good but thanks to this agreement, we will be at a world-class standard in the fight against tax fraud and going after accounts that are kept hidden from tax authorities – I don’t need to spell it out for you.”
French budget minister Jerome Cahuzac was forced to step down in March 2013 after being accused of having an undeclared Swiss bank account and moving assets to Singapore to hide them from tax authorities in France, where prosecutors want to bring him to trial.
The new French-Singapore agreement offers improved terms for companies in both countries.
“It also contains anti-abuse provisions that will enable us to fight against the kind of tax avoidance that some companies have been indulging in, while also permitting us to fine-tune other situations which can lead to double taxation of some companies,” Sapin said.a