Monday, November 12, 2007

Singapore Feels Heat of Anti-Burma Drive

Source: Financial Times via Yahoo News

With Burma's state-controlled banking system crippled by stifling regulations, Burmese business people - and others with access to hard currency - have for yearslooked to Singaporean banks to hold their assets.

But as the US leads efforts to increase the financial pressure on Burma's ruling military junta and its supporters, that practice has put Singapore in an uncomfortable spotlight.

Visiting the region last week, a senior US official called on Singapore and its south-east Asian neighbours to crack down on Burmese funds parked in their banks.

"We believe that there are [Burmese] regime officials with accounts in Singapore and other countries and we hope that governments will ensure that their financial institutions are not being used as sanctuary," said Kristen Silverberg, the assistant secretary of state in charge of co-ordinating US diplomatic policy with the UN and other international organisations.

The statement was one of the most explicit the US has made about the possible role of Singapore, its closest ally in south-east Asia, in sheltering the assets of Burma's military leadership.

For the full report, please click here.

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