Photo of SR Nathan from The Straits Times

According to Panama Offshore Leaks, son of former President SR Nathan, Osith Ramanathan, is revealed to be the director of a offshore company based in tax haven British Virgin Islands. While Panama Offshore Leaks stated that revelations on its website does not suggest criminal activities, the fact remains that Osith Ramanathan is placing undisclosed millions in the tax haven to avoid taxes in Singapore.

You may view the leaked document here and here for Osith Ramanathan.

Recently-deceased SR Nathan used to draw S$4.2 million a year (excluding bonuses) for his compliant role as the Singapore President. Having been in office for 12 years, SR Nathan was never known as a philanthropist and has kept his immense wealth to himself and his family. SR Nathan came to power as President after being unofficially appointed by Lee Kuan Yew, and arrangements were made to attain the powerful post via election walkovers.

Tax evasion is not easy to prove in oligarchy Singapore, especially for powerful figures linked to the ruling party PAP. The incumbent government often praises itself for being “incorruptible” and are hence hesitant to conduct deeper investigations in politically-sensitive figures. Malaysia’s grand corruption case, 1MDB, is a textbook example of Singapore’s ruling party trying to protect the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is a supporter of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his dictatorship. Singapore feigned ignorance and instead pushed the blame to its banks for laundering the Malaysian state funds, in what they called “lapses”.

The corruption bureau in Singapore reports directly to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and nobody can be investigated without his green light.