Singapore banks reject Myanmar junta cash report

September 12, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AFP

Two Singapore banks have rejected a report by a US-based rights group that said Myanmar’s ruling junta deposited billions of dollars with them.

DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) said in separate statements late Thursday that there was no truth in the report by EarthRights International (ERI).

“ERI’s report is categorically untrue and without basis,” a DBS spokesperson said in the brief statement.

A spokesperson from OCBC also rejected the report.

EarthRights International had said in a report released Thursday that energy giants Total and Chevron were propping up the Myanmar military regime with a gas project that allowed the junta to stash almost five billion US dollars in the two Singaporean banks.

The report said the junta had kept the revenues earned from the project off the national budget and stashed almost all of the money offshore with DBS and OCBC.

“Total and Chevron’s Yadana gas project has generated 4.83 billion dollars for the Burmese regime,” one of the reports said, adding that the figures for the period 2000-2008 were the first ever detailed account of the revenues.

“The military elite are hiding billions of dollars of the peoples’ revenue in Singapore while the country needlessly suffers under the lowest social spending in Asia,” said Matthew Smith, a principal author of the report.

French energy giant Total has also rejected the report, saying the document was riddled with errors and false interpretations.

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