HomeNewsBriefNew Panama Law Small Stride Towards Shrugging Dirty Money Stigma
BRIEF

New Panama Law Small Stride Towards Shrugging Dirty Money Stigma

ELITES AND CRIME / 19 JUN 2018 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Panama is seeking to clean up its image as a financial crimes haven by passing new regulations but the process has been tarnished by its failure to address certain policy holes and criminal proceedings against a former president.

On June 11, Panama passed Executive Decree 122, which requires the country to automatically share tax-related financial information with 33, primarily European, nations. The measure follows international reporting standards laid out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Common Reporting Standards (CRS) and approved in Panama in 2016.

According to La Estrella de Panamá, the measure covers certain private and public sources, and financial institutions.

InSight Crime Analysis

Panama has long been used for tax evasion and money laundering purposes by elites from around the world, as was revealed in the explosive 2016 Panama Papers scandal. While Panama has made strides in recent years to reverse this stigma with new transparency laws, it continues to avoid some of the core issues behind financial crimes.

The positive measures taken by Panama have largely been in response to international pressure by entities such as the OECD and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which placed the country on its international money laundering watch list between 2014 and 2016.

Despite such initiatives, Panama is still failing to address some of the most important policy holes exploited by criminals. Its regulation of anonymous companies, a boon for money launderers and tax evaders as they allow people to set up secret shell companies without revealing their identity, remains limited. Furthermore, lax laws regarding the registration of ships under the Panamanian flag has long facilitated tax and other crimes.

Also casting a shadow over Panama’s attempts to improve its image is the ongoing espionage case against former President Ricardo Martinelli. Sources claim that current President Juan Carlos Varela -- former vice president to Martinelli -- was in on the scheme.

The case serves as a reminder of the high-reaching corruption that continues to undermine the rule of law in Panama, and by consequence attempts at serious policy reform.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ECUADOR / 7 OCT 2022

Any chance of peace between warring gangs in Ecuador appears to be defunct after another two massacres.

COVID AND CRIME / 1 SEP 2021

The Mexican government is highlighting a record number of remittances sent back to the country by citizens living in the…

BRAZIL / 16 MAR 2022

Rocco Morabito’s story has all the makings of a great film script. The Italian mob, tons of cocaine, exotic destinations,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…