PANAMA TAKES A TURN TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY, BUT WILL IT GO FAR ENOUGH?

An article on Medium on 4 February said that, in January, Panama took important steps towards a register that lists the real beneficiaries of companies in which a Panamanian lawyer, or a Panamanian law firm, provides the service of ‘resident agent’ – the role that Mossack Fonseca infamously played in thousands of companies inside and outside of Panama.  Unless the President of Panama partially or fully vetoes the Bill to create the new register, it will automatically come into effect.  However, the article says, questions remain about how effective the change will be.  It says that foreign states will not have direct access to the information (nor will be local police and judiciary in Panama): they will continue rely on exchange arrangements signed by Panama with specific counterparts or, for general cases, on lengthy mutual legal assistance requests every time a Panamanian company or a private foundation is involved in deals they are investigating.  Another point mentioned is that the custodian and administrator of the registry is not responsible for the truthfulness or accuracy of the information provided by the resident agent – nor, it seems, the resident agent either.  The resident agent may be liable for providing false information, but the penalty imposed is described as “very low” — only up to $10,000.

https://voices.transparency.org/panama-takes-a-turn-towards-transparency-but-will-it-go-far-enough-8643ea1c7c85

See also (in Spanish) –

http://barsallocarlos.blogspot.com/2020/01/panama-registro-privado-y-unico-de_39.html

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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