GIC pointed out in a statement on 12 May that it is not named in the Panama Papers and that its address can be found in International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ)’s database because of a previous investment it had made. The records containing its name come from records released in an older data leak, GIC said.
A GIC spokesman clarified: “We invested in and were one of the shareholders of Hon Chuan (China) Holdings Co Ltd, a Cayman subsidiary of Taiwan Hon Chuan Enterprises Co Ltd, whose business is manufacturing plastic packaging materials. Taiwan Hon Chuan Enterprises Co Ltd is a listed company on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. We have fully divested our stake as of Aug 8, 2007.”
The spokesman added that GIC uses investment entities to hold and manage a diversified investment portfolio spanning multiple countries globally and to allow it to invest alongside other partners effectively in different jurisdictions.
“As a global long-term investor, we are committed to professional standards. We conduct our business and investment strategy in compliance with local and international laws and regulations,” he further clarified.”
Commenting on GIC’s statement in his Facebook, CPF blogger and social activist Roy Ngerng said that the fact that GIC was named in the Offshore Leaks is both shocking and outrageous. He pointed out that in other countries, ICIJ’s release of its database has led to investigations, as well as resignations of high-profile individuals.
“Also, it is not enough for the GIC to say that it is “committed to professional standards”,” the blogger said.
“There is very little transparency and accountability from the GIC – and where it uses Singaporeans’ CPF pension funds to invest, there is a greater need to properly and fully account,” he added.
Mr Ngerng asked GIC has to answer to its role in the leaks and the secrecy.
“The GIC and the government cannot be secretive and unaccountable when it uses the CPF of Singaporeans to invest, especially not when Singaporeans have the lowest long term returns on their pension funds and one of the least adequate pension funds in the world, and where many elderly Singaporeans are unable to retire today,” Mr Ngerng exclaimed.
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