Gafilat has identified the outstanding tasks needed to bring up to date matters relating to financing terrorism, control of casinos and the inclusion of lawyers in the Mandated Persons category.
The ruling was made by the Financial Action Task Force for Latin America (Gafilat), who released the Mutual Evaluation Report, up to the date of the in situ visit made between November 23 and December 4, 2015.
The Committee of Independent Experts from which Joseph Stiglitz and Mark Pieth resigned early on, has presented its findings and recommendations for Panama to achieve financial transparency as requested by the international community.
The Committee of Independent Experts was appointed by the Varela administration in April this year, after the commotioncaused by the revelation of the so- called Panama Papers, which reported the existence of a complex system of offshore companies focused around the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca, apparently used to conceal assets belonging to public figures.The Panama Papers scandal was the culmination of a process that has taken several years, in which Panama has been systematically attacked by the international financial community, led by the OECD, pointing to the opacity of its financial system, which lends itself to tax evasion activities to the detriment of other countries and possibly also money laundering.
Amendments to the law on the financial system include changes to the conditions which must be present in order for an order to be issued for the forced liquidation of an institution.
From a statement issued by the National Congress:
The National Congress approved on Thursday, in the third and final debate, several articles of the decree containing the amendments to the Law on Financial Institutions, which aims to bring legislation into line with international standards and prevent banks from having problems which could lead to a forced liquidation, as recently happened with Continental Bank, through an early and timely action by the supervisory body, preventing savers or account holders from being affected.
A proposal has been made in Panama to make public all sanctions to be imposed on entities that violate the law on prevention of money laundering.
The proposal put forward by the National Committee Against Money Laundering, and Financing of Terrorism and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (CNBC), created in 2015 within the framework of the new law on prevention of money laundering, aims to "...
In the first nine months of the year 1046 banking transactions were reported to have had characteristics of being possibly related to money laundering.
Data from the Superintendency of Banks in Guatemala indicates that 1046 reports were submitted, worth $400 million between January and September this year.
Elperiodico.com.gt reports that "...This year the number of reports increased by 25 percent, as in September 2015 only $100 million had been reported as suspicious transactions.The Superintendent indicated that this change is due to the "conscience" acquired by citizens, who are reporting more of these actions related to money laundering."Unusual situations that can not be explained by customers, become suspicious transaction and are reported," said the head of the SIB.
As time passes there is growing uncertainty on the part of traders that have shops in Soho Mall about the future of the company which has been included on the US government's list of companies suspected of money laundering.
From a statement issued by the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP):
The Financial Regulator of New York has fined the Taiwanese company Mega International Commercial Bank $180 million, citing irregular transactions in its operations between Panama and New York.
The Bank of Taiwanese origin, with global assets worth more than $100 billion, operating in Panama since 1974, violated rules of prevention and control of money laundering when performing certain "suspicious" transactions between the bank in New York and branches in Panama City and the Colon Free Zone.
Regardless of who is right about the motives, the resignations from an international committee set up to review practices in Panama's financial industry, and the ensuing squabbling, has only aggravated the bad perception of these practices.
The presence of the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and the notorious Swiss criminologist Mark Pieth along with Panamanian and regional personalities, in a commission to review the practices of the local financial industry, had the obvious good intention of communicating to the world Panama's also good intentions of reversing the country's image as a tax haven.
The maximum amount allowed for banking transactions in cash in foreign and national currency has been lowered from $10,000 to $4,000.
From a resolution by the Central Bank of Honduras:
For purposes of the application of Articles 8, 12, 23 and 25 and in compliance with the provisions of Article 86 of the Special Law against Money Laundering the following amounts have been established:
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