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

CARIBBEAN / 17 DEC 2012

Authorities in the Dominican Republic reported arresting 26 people and seizing millions of dollars worth of assets linked to an…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 20 JUN 2013

The G8 summit has concluded with a statement promising a coordinated international effort to crack down on money laundering, although…

EL KOKI / 29 MAY 2020

A complex game of cat-and-mouse has unfolded over the last two weeks in one of Caracas’s most infamous neighborhoods, revealing…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…