The government of Panama on Tuesday promised India assistance in investigating those who figure on the latest list of the rich and the influential who have parked money in secretive tax havens. The list, >which includes at least 500 Indian citizens , has emerged from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm registered in Panama, which helped its elite transnational clientele to evade taxes for several decades.
“The government of Panama will vigorously cooperate with any request…should any judicial proceedings arise. The administration of President Juan Carlos Varela reaffirms that in its 21 months of government, it has demonstrated an absolute commitment to transparency in legal and financial services,” said a statement sent to The Hindu by the Embassy of Panama in New Delhi.
The statement said the government of Panama had already started introducing tighter financial regulations, with new laws limiting the use of bearer shares by Panamanian corporations. “With these new regulations, those legal entities that have issued bearer shares must deliver them to the custody of authorised agents and regulated financial entities,” it said.
The Panama government said the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had recently taken note of the steps taken by the country for transparency in its economy. At its February 19 meeting, the FATF “congratulated” Panama and Angola on taking steps to prevent money-laundering. As a result, the FATF assigned the task of supervising Panama’s financial services to a regional FATF-style organisation in Central America. Panama has the largest community of Indians in Central America, mostly in the Panama Canal Zone.