Panama must urgently address the perceived opacity of its offshore business model and do more to stop dark money flowing through its financial system, a report by a government-appointed panel of experts says.
The five-person Committee of Experts, appointed by the government of Panama on April 29 to advise the government on reforms to help the country move on from the global scandal of Panama Papers, delivered its report to President Juan Carlos Varela on Friday last week. The report was made public on Sunday.
“The moment has come,” the report says. “The country can no longer postpone decision-making in this field.”
The committee’s report comes more than seven months after the publication of a series of news stories by ICIJ and more than 100 media partners. The Panama Papers, as they are now known, revealed the inner workings of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm founded in Panama that has helped create offshore and sometimes secretive structures used by world leaders, wealthy individuals, drug lords and financial fraudsters.
The Committee of Experts’ 23-page report includes more than 30 recommendations for Panama, including policy reforms, tweaks and additions to Panama’s diplomatic toolbox such as the creation of a permanent “advisory committee” to implement the report’s recommendations.
The report, which devotes significant sections to praise of Panama’s economic growth and its “attractive” place in the global economy, also recommends strengthening Panama’s financial and non-financial regulators.