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GAO (Oficina de Rendición de Cuentas del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos)

Highlights of GAO-06-376, a report to the Collected and Available Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate:

https://www.gao.gov/assets/250/249636.pdf

Proyecto Senador Levin: Conozca A Su Cliente

STATEMENT OF REASONS

The first time Senator Levin presented this Project was in 2006, after the overwhelming GAO report against the corporations and LLCs in the USA.  The GAO report unveiled the true reality that the USA didn’t require the client´s identity or the beneficiary owner of legal entities.    This legislation wasn’t approved then and it was later revived in 2008, 2009 and 2011 but wasn´t approved either.

The main reason is the opposition of Senators from states like Delaware and Nevada, whose income depends on the sales of corporations and LLC´s abroad.   Even to this date, the USA doesn´t practice or require the “Know Your Client” Policy on legal entities.

112TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION S. ll

To ensure that persons who form corporations in the United States disclose the beneficial owners of those corporations, in order to prevent wrongdoers from exploiting United States corporations in ways that threaten homeland security, to assist law enforcement in detecting, preventing, and punishing terrorism, money laundering, and other misconduct involving United States corporations, and for other purposes.

Levin, Grassley Introduce Bill to Combat U.S. Corporations with Hidden Owners

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this week introduced the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act to combat acts of terrorism, money laundering, tax evasion, and other wrongdoing facilitated by U.S. corporations with hidden owners. The bill would end the practice of the 50 States forming corporations for unidentified persons, and instead require the States to obtain the identities of the persons behind the corporations.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Nearly 2,000,000 corporations and limited liability companies are being formed under the laws of the States each year.

(2) Very few States obtain meaningful information about the beneficial owners of the corporations and limited liability companies formed under their laws.

(3) A person forming a corporation or limited liability company within the United States typically provides less information to the State of incorporation than is needed to obtain a bank account or driver’s license and typically does not name a single beneficial owner.

(4) Terrorists and other criminals have exploited the weaknesses in State formation procedures to conceal their identities when forming corporations or limited liability companies in the United States, and have then used the newly created entities to support terrorist organizations, drug trafficking organizations, and international organized crime groups, as well as commit misconduct affecting interstate and international commerce such as trafficking in illicit drugs, illegal arms trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion, Internet-based fraud, securities fraud, financial fraud, intellectual property crimes, and acts of foreign corruption.

(5) Among those who have abused State incorporation procedures, Victor Bout, a Russian arms dealer now in United States custody on terrorism-related charges, used at least 12 companies incorporated in Texas, Florida, and Delaware to carry out his activities, and has been indicted, in part, for conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization trying to kill citizens of the United States and Federal officers and employees.

(6) Law enforcement efforts to investigate corporations and limited liability companies suspected of wrongdoing that threatens homeland security have been impeded by the lack of available beneficial ownership information, as documented in reports and testimony by officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, the Government Accountability Office, and others.

(7) In July 2006, a leading international antimoney laundering and anti-terrorist financing organization, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (in this section referred to as the ‘‘FATF’’), of which the United States is a member, issued a report that criticized the United States for failing to comply with a FATF standard on the need to collect beneficial ownership information and urged the United States to correct this deficiency by July 10 2008.

(8) In response to the FATF report and to strengthen measures to protect homeland security, Federal officials have repeatedly urged the States to improve their formation practices by obtaining beneficial ownership information for the corporations and limited liability companies formed under the laws of such States. But the States continue to form millions of corporations with hidden owners.

(9) Many States have established automated procedures that allow a person to form a new corporation or limited liability company within the State within 24 hours of filing an online application, without any prior review of the application by a State official. In exchange for a substantial fee, 2 States will form a corporation within 1 hour of a request.

(10) Dozens of Internet websites highlight the anonymity of beneficial owners allowed under the formation practices of some States, point to those practices as a reason to incorporate in those States, and list those States together with offshore jurisdictions as preferred locations for the formation of new corporations, essentially providing an open invitation to terrorists and other wrongdoers to form entities within the United States.

(11) In contrast to practices in the United 13 States, all 27 countries in the European Union are already required to have formation agents identify the beneficial owners of the corporations formed by those agents under the laws of those countries.

(12) To protect homeland security, reduce the vulnerability of the United States to wrongdoing by United States corporations and limited liability companies with hidden owners, protect interstate and international commerce from terrorists and other criminals misusing United States corporations and limited liability companies, strengthen law enforcement investigations of suspect corporations and limited liability companies, set minimum standards for and level the playing field among State formation practices, and bring the United States into compliance with international anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing standards, Federal legislation is needed to require the States to obtain beneficial ownership information for the corporations and limited liability companies formed under the laws of such States.

¿Paraíso Fiscal o Plataforma de Servicios y Negocios Internacionales?

By Eduardo Morgan Jr.

Colombia´s Decree
Decree # 1966 of 2014.
The President of the Republic of Colombia considers:
That as part of harmful tax competition between jurisdictions, tax havens offer attractive tax advantages for capital, financial activities of non-residents and other activities susceptible to geographical mobility, by means of a lax legislation and controls with little or no transparency in relation to services provided to third countries, with inexistent or nominally low tax rates compared to those applicable to similar operations in Colombia; the existence of laws or administrative practices that restrict sharing of information; the lack of transparency at legal or regulatory level or in administrative functions; the no demand of a substantive local presence or real activity of economic substance; all of which can cause distortions in both, investment and commercial decisions, and because of its effect erode the tax base of the Colombian State.

President Santos- Statement
The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, stated that the measures taken by his government, to declare Panama a “tax haven” is not “a decision against” the Central American country, but a measure to prosecute tax evaders.
Colombia, he added, has to implement a policy that includes these type of measures because Colombia wants to be recognized as “a serious country which fights tax evasion.”
This policy is part of the Colombian commitments in order to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Comprised by 34 countries.

What is it?
The Economist magazine calls it a “Rich Countries Club” and Paul Krugman sees it as a Think Tank. I identify as a CARTEL.

The Cartel
It seeks to eliminate competition of countries like Panama, to their financial centers.
So they confessed:
In paragraph 36 of “Improving Access to Bank Information” says the OECD:
“The liberalization (of financial markets) was a response to the threat to the financial markets by “Offshore” financial centers”. These centers, in the 60s and 70s decades, managed to attract foreign financial institutions offering banking systems with minimal regulation and low taxes … at a time when technological advances made them of easy access… ”

Pascal Saint-Amans – Director: OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration

Note: Pascal forgot the existence of the U.S.A. and the fact that it is the world’s largest financial center.

The most important note of the report

“Paradoxically, the United States, which set the ball rolling with FATCA, does not want to sign up to the new OECD standard, which would require full reciprocity between countries, preferring to stick to its own law instead.”
This was not even mentioned in the local journalist extensive report
Source: Tax Summit in Berlin aims to say goodbye to banking secrecy
https://news.yahoo.com/tax-summit-berlin-aims-goodbye-banking-secrecy-020443470.html

Through the administrative act 2014-62 US Federal Government indicates with which countries it has obligations to exchange information and with which ones on the list they actually exchange

  • Países con los que tiene obligación
  • Antigua & Barbado
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belgica
  • Bermuda
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Curazao
  • Cipré
  • República Checa
  • Dinamarca
  • Dominica
  • República Dominicana
  • Egipto
  • Estonia
  • Finlandia
  • Francia
  • Alemania
  • Gibraltar
  • Grecia
  • Grenada
  • Guernsey
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungria
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Irlanda
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italia
  • Jamaica
  • Japón
  • Jersey
  • Kazakhastan
  • Korea del Sur
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Netherlands
  • Netherlands ilsand territories (Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius)
  • New Zealand
  • Noruega
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Perú
  • Philippines
  • Polonia
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russian federation
  • República Eslovaca
  • Slovenia
  • Sur África
  • España
  • Sri Lanka
  • St. Maarten (Dutch Part)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tailandia
  • Trinidad y Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turquia
  • Ucrania
  • Reino unido
  • Venezuela
  • Australia
  • Canadá
  • Dinamarca
  • Finlandia
  • Francia
  • Alemania
  • Guernesey
  • Irlanda
  • Isle of Man
  • Italia
  • Jersey
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • México
  • Netherlands
  • Noruega
  • España
  • Reino Unido


Countries the USA gives information:

  • Australia
  • Canadá
  • Dinamarca
  • Finlandia
  • Francia
  • Alemania
  • Guernesey
  • Irlanda
  • Isle of Man
  • Italia
  • Jersey
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • México
  • Netherlands
  • Noruega
  • España
  • Reino Unido

We are no Tax Haven
Panama has none of the factors Colombia identifies as tax haven.
1. Our tax law contains no law that gives special treatment for investments in Panama, to foreigners or to foreign investors, in general. Tax law is equal for all domestic and foreigners, whether or not residents. Example: Interest on bank deposits. Both nationals and foreigners are exempted. On the other hand, U.S. nonresident aliens are exempted, not so Americans or residents who do have to pay taxes. This is, clearly, a law to attract foreign investment.
2. We do not have “lax” controls. Our tax laws are transparent; there are no powers to negotiate fiscal agreements on taxes and our banking center is acknowledged as one of the strictest in the world. Our Banking system has the distinction of having survived unharmed the severe crisis during the Noriega’s period when banks were closed for several months (no depositor lost neither principal nor interest when the system was reinstated). We also passed without damage the banking crisis that began in 2008 when many banks in OECD countries went bankrupt caused, precisely, by “lax” controls on subprime mortgages.

3. Our income tax is at the same level, and sometimes higher than some OECD States (example: tax on corporations in England 21% vs 25% in Panama; individuals who earn up to 11k pay no taxes; above 50k pay 15% and then up to 25%. We pay property taxes. Sales and service taxes range between 7%-10%.

4. It is untrue to say that foreign enterprises do not have substantial presence in Panama. Some of the most important Colombian companies (banks, cement factories, etc., and more than 106 regional headquarters of multinational companies operate in Panama, some very important. We also have our banking center, (no letterbox banks), the Colon Free Zone, ports, and the Panama Pacific Area where huge global companies like Caterpillar operate.

5. Panama has signed assistance agreements with many countries, including fiscal matters. We are founding members of the United Nations; we belong to the WTO and other authentic international organizations.

6. Our stock corporation system is acknowledged for its public registry and for the obligation of the registered agent (who must be an attorney) to document the identity of their clients. History shows that whoever uses a Panamanian corporation to commit a crime is identified. No one gets away. Such are the cases of presidents of Nicaragua and Costa Rica; the Peruvian, Montesinos and the Colombian, Murcia. This does not happen in England or in the United States where since 2008 they have been trying to pass the law to “know the client” but because of the opposition of some States (Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming, mainly), which are in the business of selling companies.

What is Panama?
It is a platform of services and international businesses built on three pillars:
1. Geographical Position
• Panama Canal
• Ports
• Internet connectivity with five optical cables
• COPA Air Hub
• Free of natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.)
2. Legal and financial system
• The Dollar as currency
• Territorial Tax System
• No central bank
• Well-regulated banking center
• Registration of ships and registration of companies, both transparent
• Consular representation in major world ports
• Colon Free Zone
• Law or Multinational Headquarters
• Panama Pacific Area
• City of Knowledge
3. Panamanian society and its people
• A friendly country with no tradition of civil wars; without discrimination of any kind, (race, sex or religion, nationality)
• Excellent schools and health centers

Conclusions
1. Panama does not have, according to our laws, none of the characteristics that defines a tax haven.
2. The aggression received by including us in a list of tax havens with the consequences that entails, had the positive effect of uniting Panama to defend its platform of services and international businesses that account for 82% of its economy, and therefore is a matter of national security.
3. Also, and very important, that before the threats we can apply our law of retaliation which would affect enterprises that participate in options for important infrastructure projects; that uses our platform of services and international business in Panama as well as our own local economy.

(English) Trump’s Lesson

“That is how I realized, because I experienced it, how great democracy is in that country and how we are sure that Trump will learn to live with it” Eduardo Morgan Jr.

In 2009, on the occasion of Barack Obama’s election as president of the United States, I wrote an article titled ‘Obama’s lesson’, which I now want to replicate using Trump´s name. At the time I pointed out that Obama’s election erased a long history of racial discrimination. Now, with Trump, the ‘lesson’ to be highlighted is the reality of what makes America great: its democracy.

Donald Trump is undoubtedly a man out of the ordinary: a tireless worker with a multifaceted personality, successful businessman and owner of a great fortune that is largely a product of his work and ingenuity. He is also a stellar figure in television series, where he projects his own personality. It represents the philosophy of a people that admires and venerates the success that brings with it great fortunes and where billionaires are considered as idols competing every year for the first places on the ranking lists published by the media.

Donald Trump is one of those but also something more.

He made the decision to enter politics to become president of his great country. His charisma led him to win the primaries of his party with the support of the people, since the Republican Party itself never supported him. He focused his campaign on those states populated by the masses that best identified with him and with enough electoral votes that would grant him the win, albeit the fact that he lost by several millions the popular vote. Not only did he defeat his Democratic rival but also he defeated the polls. Because of his authoritarian nature, he caused early concern both in his country and around the world. His anti-immigrant measures, the absolutism he wants to impose on world trade, on defense alliances, and his promises to use great military power to defeat ISIS terrorism and stop the North Korean nuclear threat have caused, and rightly so, the fear that global instability will increase. But, oh surprise! The authoritarianism of President Trump clashed head-on with what really makes the United States great: its democracy and its institutions.

Not even the president, however powerful he may be, can go against the checks and balances that are the essence of the democratic system. Thus, a judge and a sheriff were able to put a stop to some president’s measures that violated laws that were under the jurisdiction of said judge or sheriff. And both the world and the United States breathed a sigh of relief that democracy would not only protect them but also the President himself. I’m sure Trump will learn the lesson and maybe he will become a good president for the United States. Let us not forget that what makes this country great is not its unequaled military power but the fundamental pillars on which its democracy is based: freedom of the press supported by its influential newspapers; great universities where talent, more than money, is the key to being admitted; excellent bureaucracy based on the ‘civil service’ that ensures the stability and competence of public employees; research centers that make it easier for Americans to win the majority of the Nobel Prizes and has allowed them to give the world great things ranging from satellite communication to the Internet, while democratizing access to communication technologies.

I was a witness during the time I attended Yale University, and then as Panama’s ambassador to the United States, of what the checks and balances of this great democracy mean. The Panama Canal’s ports, Cristóbal and Balboa, were obsolete as transshipment ports so the government of President Perez Balladares decided to privatize them. Those who won the concession would make the necessary investments to meet the load and the transshipment needs, which were the most important functions they would have as auxiliaries to the geographic position and the Canal. Major port companies from Japan and Hong Kong came to the bid, including Hutchinson Wampoa, which was perhaps the most important of them all, with ports all over the world.

The United States wanted Bechtel, one of its large companies, to obtain the concession and tried to convince the government to grant it directly, since it would make an offer that could not be rejected because of how advantageous it would be for Panama.  Ultimately they convinced President Pérez Balladares to halt the bidding process to tend to the Bechtel proposal, which in the end the President deemed to be a mockery, thus discarding it immediately. The bidding went ahead and was won by the aforementioned Hong Kong Company. The United States’ reaction and fury (there is no other word to describe it) came swiftly.

Right away the six most important senators sent a note to the director of the Federal Maritime Authority stating that they had to ‘punish’ Panama for discriminating against American interests in the bidding of the ports. They talked about how they would prevent ships bearing the Panamanian flag from reaching American ports. As expected, panic spread in Panama so the government asked me, as the ambassador, to hire a law firm to advise us on the subject. A single preliminary note from lawyers cost more than $ 5,000 and I realized that the meager Embassy budget would not allow for much more. I then sent the legal adviser to the Embassy, ​​Alfredo Suescum, accompanied by Lili Romero, who also acted as a lawyer, to find out with the officials of the Maritime Commission what could happen to us and what remedies we would have available to mitigate the damages. Alfredo and Lili returned smiling and relaxed. I asked them how long it would take the Commission to apply the penalty. Their response: ‘Ambassador, we met with the heads of the different departments and the message is: ‘Nothing will happen to Panama. This is an internal Panamanian matter and has nothing to do with us. Do not worry about the letter from the senators. It is just politics without any significance for us. Our director is also a politician, but these things we handle internally’.

This was a great lesson on the strength that democracy has in protecting officials against impositions from bosses they might have at a given time. In fact, the senators’ overblown threats deflated and besides some extreme groups’ propaganda stating that Panama was handing over the Canal to a Chinese company (they would wave the Chinese flag over the Canal in television ads), no more was spoken about the subject; there was no sanction of any kind and the Embassy saved a fortune in legal fees.

So I realized, because I experienced it, how great democracy is in that country.  We are sure that Trump will learn to live with it and hope that with his great dynamism it will help make the planet a little better not only for his people but also for the rest of the world. This is, without a doubt, the greatest responsibility that the world’s great powers must assume.

(English) U.S. Emerging as ‘Leading’ Tax, Secrecy Haven, EU Report Says

From International Tax

Trust Bloomberg BNA’s Premier International Tax offering for the news and guidance to navigate the complex tax treaty networks and business regulations.

By Joe Kirwin

March 8th, 2017

The U.S. is emerging as a “leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners” because of its resistance to global tax disclosure standards and the array of tax-free facilities available for non-residents, according to a European Parliament report.

Released March 7—two weeks before European Union lawmakers visit Washington D.C. and Delaware to probe money laundering and tax evasion issues— the report says U.S. states such as Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota and Delaware are attracting money flows from around the world because of laws that permit beneficial owners of companies to remain anonymous.

“The United States provides a wide array of secrecy and tax-free facilities for non-residents both at the federal level and at the level of individual states,” the report said.

Built on the foundation of the Tax Management Portfolios™, Bloomberg BNA Tax & Accounting is a comprehensive tax research solution designed by tax practitioners for tax practitioners. An easy-to-use interface and improved search deliver the fastest and easiest access to the expert analysis, in-depth news, extensive primary source material, and full range of practitioner-developed tools only available from Bloomberg BNA.

The report underlines that the U.S., unlike “virtually all of the other developed counties in the world,” hasn’t agreed to implement the OECD’s common reporting standard for the automatic exchange of bank and tax data between tax authorities.

‘Fact Finding’ U.S. Visit

The European Parliament’s Panama Papers investigative committee will visit the U.S. March 21-24 for what has been described as a fact-finding mission.

The delegation will meet with counterparts in the U.S. Congress as well as with representatives of the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service and various think tanks and organizations.

According to a committee document seen by Bloomberg BNA, the purpose of the visit is “to discuss with interlocutors the state of play and future perspectives for transatlantic cooperation in the fight against money laundering, tax evasion and tax avoidance at international, OECD and G-7/G-20 level, and both tax and beneficial ownership transparency at U.S. State level.”

OECD BEPS Reforms

The report was published amid mounting concerns among EU member countries and the European Commission that the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress won’t implement the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s recommendations under its Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), a massive, two-year project to rewrite the global tax rules, and thereby will put European companies at a competitive disadvantage to U.S. companies.

The hard-hitting report comes as the EU begins screening 92 countries, including the U.S., for possible inclusion on an EU tax haven blacklist, due to be finalized at the end of 2017.

Delaware

A key concern for the European Parliament Panama Papers committee are existing U.S. laws that continue to permit beneficial owners of companies to remain anonymous.

Some rules—such as tolerance by states like Delaware or Nevada of highly secretive anonymous shell companies—”are rather the result of a race to the bottom between individual states or standards of disclosure and transparency,” the report said.

Referring to Delaware in particular, the report said that the “small East Coast state ranks first in importance” in the U.S., by a wide margin, and “also serves as one of the favored places” for real estate funds.

“Delaware’s advanced business statutes make it an attractive place for global investors,” the report added.

EU Divide

The beneficial owners transparency issue is currently the subject of a pending revision to the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The European Parliament is pushing for standards that would require identification of anyone with 10 percent or more of a company or trust to be posted on a public registry.

However, EU countries oppose the stricter rules based on, among other things, data privacy standards.

The European Parliament report also noted that because U.S. banking regulation is split between the federal and state governments, “Delaware, Nevada, Florida and Wyoming—all with very strict banking confidentiality regulations—would oppose the passing of a federal law on CRS in Congress.”

FATCA Complaints

Another issue highlighted in the report is the one-sided nature of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, as EU governments must provide the U.S. with tax and income data about U.S. citizens living within their territory, but that reporting isn’t reciprocated with information about EU citizens living in the U.S.

Since the European Parliament panel began investigating the Panama Papers nearly a year ago, the FATCA issue has consistently been raised in hearings, the most recent of which took place March 6.

“The fact is that money laundering takes place when money is transferred from shell companies in tax havens via countries such as Switzerland and then onto to the U.S.,” Giuseppe Marino, a professor at Bocconi University in Milan, said at a March 6 hearing on the role Swiss lawyers and banks played in setting up and facilitating shell companies revealed by the Panama Papers. “The one-sided nature of FATCA is clearly a problem.”

The report is at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_IDA(2017)598602.

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(English) Prosperous Panama

By Richard W. Rahn

The Washington Post

Published February 21, 2017

SUCCESS CAN BE TRACED TO THE USE OF THE U.S. DOLLAR AS OFFICIAL CURRENCY

Panama City, Panama

Panama has come a long way in a short time, more than doubling its per capita gross domestic product in the past decade. At the end of June 2016, it opened the new canal next to the old one that could no longer accommodate the current generation of post-Panamax ships.

Panama became an independent country in 1903 when it seceded from Colombia — with the help and encouragement of the United States, which wished to build a canal across the isthmus between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished building the canal in 1914. The 10-mile wide Canal Zone was considered sovereign U.S. territory, until a treaty that was negotiated during the Carter administration to return the canal to Panama. Some will recall that the United States invaded Panama back in 1989 to get rid of the corrupt drug-trafficking dictator, Manuel Noriega, who was threatening the canal in a way that violated the treaty that gave the canal to Panama. Panama received full sovereignty over the canal in 1999, at which time the United States removed the last of its military bases. When the Carter administration agreed to turn over the canal, there was widespread concern that the Panamanians would not be sufficiently competent to run the canal and ensure that it would remain an international waterway. The Panamanians proved their critics wrong and not only ran the canal in a highly competent fashion, but then undertook the massive and complex task of building the new canal.

As can be seen in the accompanying table, Panama has by far the highest income in Central America. The question is, why has Panama done so much better than its regional competitors? The standard answer, from both government officials and business leaders I spoke with, is that Panama does not have a central bank. That is, Panama uses the U.S. dollar as it currency. As a result, it cannot “inflate” its way out of any temptation to spend far more than tax revenue. Using the dollar without a lender of last resort serves as a natural debt break and causes some spending and taxing restraint — even though both are above the growth maximizing rate.

CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT PER CAPITA BASED ON PURCHASING-POWER-PARITY (INTERNATIONAL DOLLARS)

Panama

22,788

Mexico 18,865
Costa Rica 16,142
El Salvador 8,914
Belize 8,186
Guatemala 7,937
Nicaragua 5,280
Honduras

5,264

Source: International Monetary Fund

Panama does not have currency controls, and so the use of the U.S. dollar is as free as using the same U.S. dollar in each of the U.S. states. Having the dollar as its currency gives Panama’s banking system a competitive advantage over other countries in the region, because there is no exchange-rate risk or costs of currency conversion to U.S. dollars.

Despite accusations of corruption in the courts, Panama does have a reliable system of real property registration. Panama City has a spectacular skyline with many very tall, modern buildings — the Trump Tower being the tallest at 932 feet — with eye-catching designs and with many new ones under construction. The billions of dollars of investment in this real estate is tangible evidence that investors believe their real property rights are secure.

Even though Panama is less rich in natural resources than most of the other countries in the region, it has been successful in using the canal to create a regional and, to some extent, even a global logistics industry. Panama has connected the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean, not only with a state-of-the-art waterway, but also with rail, air and a modern expressway where one can drive from Colon to Panama City in less than an hour.

Panama has also been a leader in the creation of “free zones,” where goods and services meant for export, or re-export for logistics reasons, are exempt from taxation and some regulations. The oldest and largest of these in the Colon Free Zone of the Caribbean side of the canal. In its almost 70 years of existence, it has successively evolved in the services it offers global merchants and manufacturers.

Panama received a black eye with the “Panama Papers” scandal, despite the fact they revealed that almost no wrongdoing was done in Panama. What was revealed was that individuals in a major Panamanian law firm provided some wealthy and well-known individuals from around the world advice and assistance in setting up structures and accounts in many other countries to minimize tax liabilities — most of which appears to have been perfectly legal. The real sin was revealing the hypocrisy of many of the global elite, who seem to believe that only others should pay taxes.

As for Panama, the government and financial community now engage in considerable information-sharing with the U.S. and European governments — not a good place to hide dirty money.

For Panama to continue to grow at high rates, it will need to do even more to combat corruption, and improve tax, spending and regulatory policies. But the Panamanians do deserve high marks for their improbable success during the last couple of decades.

Richard W. Rahn is chairman of Improbable Success Productions and on the board of the American Council for Capital Formation

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/20/panama-prospers-thanks-to-us-dollar/

(English) Russian Intervention in American Election Was No One-Off

By SCOTT SHANE

The New York Times

JAN. 6, 2017

Vladimir V. Putin holds a grudge against Hillary Clinton, and the Russian intervention to damage her candidacy was the latest fusillade in a yearslong campaign. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

The intelligence agencies’ report on the Russian intervention in the American presidential election portrays it as just one piece of an old-fashioned Soviet-style propaganda campaign. But it was a campaign made enormously more powerful by the tools of the cyberage: private emails pilfered by hackers, an internet that reaches into most American homes, social media to promote its revelations and smear enemies.

What most Americans may have seen as a one-time effort — brazen meddling by Russia in the very core of American democracy — was, the report says, only part of a long-running information war that involves not just shadowy hackers and pop-up websites, but also more conventional news outlets, including the thriving Russian television network RT. The election intervention to damage Hillary Clinton and lift Donald J. Trump was the latest fusillade in a campaign that has gone on under the radar for years.

For the three agencies that produced the report — the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency — this is a heart-stopping moment: They have just told their new boss that he was elected with the vigorous, multifaceted help of an adversary, the thuggish autocrat who rules Russia.

“Putin and the Russian government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him,” the report says, in unusually blunt and sweeping language.

Perhaps most arresting is the assessment that Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, sees the election attack as payback — not offense, but defense. He has borne a serious grudge against Mrs. Clinton, who he believes denigrated him when she was secretary of state and encouraged the pro-democracy protests in Moscow that erupted against him in 2011.

Mr. Putin, the report says, sees the hidden hand of the United States in the leaking of the Panama Papers, files stolen from a law firm that exposed the wealth of his closest associates, secreted in offshore accounts. He even blames the United States for the exposure — carried out mainly by international sports authorities — of Russian athletes for their widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“From the Russian perspective, this is punching back,” said Christopher Porter, a former C.I.A. officer who now studies cyberattacks at the firm FireEye. “We may not think that’s fair or justified, but that’s the way they see it.”

Mr. Porter said Mr. Putin had made no secret of his view that the United States, by promoting democracy in countries like Ukraine and Georgia, had interfered in Russia’s backyard and was trying to undermine its power.

What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission: Mr. Trump has been expressing skepticism for months that Russia was to blame, variously wondering whether it might have been China, or a 400-pound guy, or a guy from New Jersey.

There is only a whisper of dissent in the report — the eavesdroppers of the N.S.A. believe with only “moderate confidence” that Russia aimed to help Mr. Trump, while their colleagues at the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. have “high confidence.”

While most of Congress and much of the public appears to accept the agencies’ findings, Mr. Trump’s prominent doubts, accompanied at times by scorn for the agencies’ competence, has rallied a diverse array of skeptics on the right and the left. Under the circumstances, many in Washington expected the agencies to make a strong public case to erase any uncertainty.

Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to “trust us.” There is no discussion of the forensics used to recognize the handiwork of known hacking groups, no mention of intercepted communications between the Kremlin and the hackers, no hint of spies reporting from inside Moscow’s propaganda machinery.

At the top of every page of the report is a disclaimer that acknowledges what is missing: “This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment, but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.”

It offers an obvious reason for leaving out the details, declaring that including “the precise bases for its assessments” would “reveal sensitive sources or methods and imperil the ability to collect critical foreign intelligence in the future.”

The absence of any proof is especially surprising in light of promises on Thursday from the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., that he would “push the envelope” to try to make more information public. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said that Mr. Obama had directed officials to “make as much of it public as they possibly can.”

That will not be enough for many, as the initial reaction showed. While some welcomed the scope of the report, many others were disappointed.

“This is big: CIA, NSA & FBI publish perhaps the most high-profile intelligence community assessment in US history,” Thomas Rid, a professor at King’s College London and an expert on cyberwarfarewrote on Twitter.

But Susan Hennessey, a former intelligence agency lawyer who is now the managing editor of the online journal Lawfare, wrote: “The unclassified report is underwhelming at best. There is essentially no new information for those who have been paying attention.”

Though the unclassified report is 25 pages long, counting the covers and several blank pages, the core analysis runs just five pages. That is less than the seven-page “annex” devoted to RT America, the television network. It is a description of the broadcaster from an intelligence report written in 2012, years before the election-related hacking took place.

The agencies “have taken an all-source look at the broader Russian strategy,” said Mr. Porter, the former C.I.A. officer. The detailed description of RT’s tactics, though years old, he added, was included because they fit that strategy.

Mr. Trump may have been persuaded by his classified briefing on Friday on the Russian attack, which included everything that the unclassified report leaves out, even if the statement he issued afterward seemed lukewarm. But this report is unlikely to change the minds of skeptics who, like the president-elect, remember the intelligence agencies’ faulty assessments on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and fear being misled again.

A version of this news analysis appears in print on January 7, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Ploy Was Not a One-Off.

httpss://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/politics/russian-hacking-election-intelligence.html?_r=0

(English) Usual Suspects? Co-conspirators in the business of tax dodging

By Ben Schumann

Date: January 23th, 2017

A Study Commissioned By The Greens/Efa Group In The European Parliament

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
On April 3, 2016, the biggest leak and international tax dodging scandal to date was revealed to the public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The “Panama Papers”i consisted of 11.5 million leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, detailing how the corporate service provider helped create 214,488 offshore entities around the world. This leak came after the Offshore Leaks in 2013ii but before the Bahamas Leaks in 2016iii.

The ICIJ merged information from these three leaks into one publicly available dataset called the Offshore Leaks database. Green / EFA Members of the European Parliament inquiry committee on the Panama Papers (PANA committee) decided to have a look at this information to find out more about the intermediaries between wealthy clients and corporate service providers like Mossack Fonseca, which create and manage offshore business on demand.

Despite the limitations of the database, section 1 of the report provides interesting results in terms of geographical allocation of intermediaries:
Hong Kong is the number 1 country when it comes to hosting intermediaries mentioned in the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks and the Bahamas Leaks.
 Following Hong Kong, the top 10 countries where intermediaries are located are: United Kingdom, United States, Taiwan, Switzerland, Singapore, the Bahamas, China, Panama and Indonesia. This shows that the issues uncovered in the Panama Papers or the Bahamas Leaks are global in scope, reaching way beyond the countries their names highlight.
Asia is the continent hosting the highest number of intermediaries but Europe accounts for nearly a quarter of all intermediaries listed in the database. Two countries from the European continent – the United Kingdom and Switzerland – are mentioned among the Top 10 countries hosting intermediaries.
Asia, Europe and North/Central America combined make up 90% of all intermediaries, leaving South America, Africa and Oceania far behind in the offshore business.
Looking at the European Union more specifically, we have noticed the important role the United Kingdom is playing, followed by Luxembourg, far beyond Spain, Cyprus or even France and Germany.

Section 2 of the report looks in more detail at who these intermediaries are. We have compiled a list of 140 international intermediaries (active in at least three different countries) from large banks to the famous “Big 4” accounting companies but also other intermediaries, less known to the wider public.
Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse take the first two places in the Top 20 ranking of international intermediaries, creating together as many offshore entities as the next three in line (less known to the public).
On the 140 identified international intermediaries, 127 (nearly 90%) have at least one active business unit or subsidiary located in Europe. This shows that Europe is a highly desirable location for international intermediaries.
 Unsurprisingly, banks from Switzerland and Luxembourg are at the heart of the business of offshore-company intermediation. But major French banks seem to have been very involved as well, since three of the main French banks (Société Générale, Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas) rank among the Top 10 European banks.
4
All of the big 4 accounting firms (Deloitte & Touche, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, KPMG and Ernst & Young) are identified as international intermediaries, with Deloitte (12) and PwC (18) making it in the Top 20 of international intermediaries.
Many names among these 140 international intermediaries remain unknown to the wider public. They are law firms, corporate service providers, consultants which intervened as middle-men and middle-women between wealthy clients and service providers like Mossack Fonseca. These new actors were probably on no one’s radar so far but some follow-up would be needed to find out more about their services.
The report also provides a series of recommendations to European Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament inquiry committee on the Panama Papers, including:
1. All European Member States should start inquiring as to the role of intermediaries mentioned in this report;
2. All European Member States and the European Parliament should agree on measures to strengthen enforcement authorities’ powers and capacities to ensure that legislation against money laundering and tax evasion is fully and properly implemented by intermediaries registered in the EU;
3. Member States should – if not already the case – adopt national legislation to ensure proper and independent supervising authorities for all types of intermediaries;
4. Member States should adopt and apply stronger sanctions – coordinated at the European level – against intermediaries providing assistance for aggressive tax planning;
5. The European Commission should present as soon as possible a legislative proposal with concrete measures to disincentive advisors and intermediaries from providing potentially aggressive tax planning schemes;
6. European Member States should start a political dialogue with Hong Kong, Switzerland and the United States over the regulation of intermediaries and coordinated actions to ensure anti-money laundering standards are consistently applied by these countries;

Members of the European Parliament inquiry on the Panama Papers are invited to use the findings of this report for the final committee conclusions expected in 2017.

DISCLAIMER
We would like to draw readers’ attention to the fact that the data we used for this report come from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and relates to the Panama Papers, Offshore Leaks and Bahamas Leaks revelations. We acknowledge that such data represents only a fraction of all activities provided by intermediaries and may put a more specific emphasis on certain practices or countries, since information came from files and registries from Panama and the Bahamas, given anonymously to the ICIJ. However, as illustrated in this report, this partial data makes it possible to provide certain conclusions concerning the identity of these intermediaries and their geographical locations

See the rest of the document at https://www.greens-efa.eu/files/doc/docs/d6bd745c6d08df3856eb6d49ebd9fe58.pdf

(English) E.U. Includes U.S. on List of Potential Tax Havens

HANDELSBLATT  GLOBAL
Published on31. January 2017

The European Union has placed the United States on a draft list of countries viewed as potential tax havens. Finance ministers will be writing the Trump administration this week.

The European Commission views the United States as a potential tax haven, according to a draft list of 90 countries that Brussels views as problematic.

Countries on the list, obtained by Handelsblatt, are categorized based on three risk factors – transparency of the tax system, tax advantages for corporations and a zero-percent income tax.

Brussels views the United States as fulfilling the first two risk factors, putting Washington in the same category as Brazil, Panama, Singapore and Malaysia.

The E.U. council of finance ministers plans to write the 90 countries on the list this week to start a dialogue about tax policy. That letter will go to the Trump administration as well.

The council plans to decide on a finalized list by the end of the year.

Four other developed nations will also receive a letter from the E.U. finance ministers – Japan, Norway, Australia and Canada. But they are not considered at risk of becoming tax havens.

httpss://global-admin.handelsblatt.com/politics/e-u-may-declare-u-s-a-tax-haven-694950

Discurso de investidura del nuevo presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump

January 20th, 017
“Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.
And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.
They have been magnificent.
Thank you.
Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment.
It belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.
This is your day.
This is your celebration.
And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.
These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.
Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.
An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.
And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.
Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.
We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.
Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs.
We will bring back our borders.
We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.
We will shine for everyone to follow.
We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.
So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again.
And, yes, together we will make America great again.
Thank you.
God bless you.
And God bless America.”
Resourceshttps://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/20/transcript-of-president-trumps-inauguration-speech.html

Comunicado al país del Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada (CONEP)

The National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), which is made up of the most representative business associations of the country’s productive sector, views with great concern the actions carried out by the Treasury Department of the United States Government which are damaging the principle of legal certainty and the rights to free speech and free enterprise.

Said actions, filed since last May, violate the rights of several Panamanian companies that were included in the Clinton List, condemning their investors and collaborators, and harming important sectors of our economy such as commerce, banking, real estate and communications.

Seven months later, the United States authorities have yet to present the arguments that justify this measure, neither has a case been presented in a court of law nor has due process been followed, a legal principle traditionally respected by the United States.

For the aforementioned reasons and as the main spokesman on behalf of the Panamanian private sector, we want to publicly release the following:

1. We call on the authorities of the National Government to demand respect for the due process and the principle of presumption of innocence; thus, defending Panamanian free enterprise, human rights and freedom of expression, principles held in high regard by our Constitution. Otherwise, it sets a disastrous precedent for current and future investors in Panama.

2. We call upon the Treasury Department of the United States Government to exclude the Panamanian companies affected from the Clinton List or to formally charge them before the US courts.

December 19th, 2016

(English) EL RETORNO DEL PENDULO III

https://portadapanama.com/retorno-del-pendulo-iii/

Por: Juan David Morgan
El péndulo sigue moviéndose. Esta vez impulsa su retorno desde la mentira hacia la verdad, la investigación abierta por el Parlamento de Europa con el fin de determinar si, con base en las revelaciones resultantes de los más de 11 millones de documentos sustraídos al bufete Mossack y Fonseca, la Comisión Europea y los Estados miembros cometieron alguna infracción en materia de blanqueo de capitales y evasión fiscal.
Noticias publicadas por el diario La Prensa el 28 de septiembre pasado, emanadas de las primeras sesiones de dicho parlamento, revelan las declaraciones de algunos de los periodistas que llevaron a cabo la investigación de los documentos injustamente llamados “Papeles de Panamá”. Tales revelaciones no pueden ser más elocuentes, como se desprende de los testimonios de algunos periodistas del Consorcio Internacional de Periodistas de Investigación (ICIJ, según sus siglas en inglés). Así, el periodista de la radio alemana NDR Germany, Jan Strozyk, expresó: “Con el análisis de los documentos encontramos más de quinientos bancos implicados en todo el mundo. Treinta de estos estaban vinculados con Alemania, es decir, o eran bancos alemanes o bancos extranjeros muy activos en territorio alemán. De los diez principales bancos intermediarios, cuatro eran de Luxemburgo, tres de las islas del Canal (ingleses), dos de Suiza y uno de Mónaco. Así es que no estamos hablando de Panamá, estas son cosas que están sucediendo aquí en Europa”. Y añadió el periodista: “Mossack Fonseca, al igual que muchos otros proveedores de empresas offshore, no trabaja con el cliente final. Esto es algo que hemos visto de los documentos”. Por su parte, otro periodista, Kristof Clerix, de la revista belga Knack, enfatizó que fueron los bancos los últimos responsables de la creación de empresas offshore.
Se va aclarando, pues, la injusticia, y, más que injusticia, la maldad que significó la utilización del nombre de nuestro país para difundir los papeles que destaparon el escándalo de las evasiones fiscales mundiales. Como ya hemos dicho antes, no era panameño ni de Panamá ninguno de los bancos que figuran en dichos papeles, bancos que, finalmente, comienzan a aparecer como los que producían los clientes de las estructuras offshore y mantenían la relación con ellos. Además, de acuerdo con el portal de internet de la ICIJ, la lista de jurisdicciones donde se constituyeron la mayoría de esas estructuras la encabeza las Islas Vírgenes Británicas (BVI), con más del doble de las constituidas en Panamá. Asimismo, en la lista de los países donde operan el mayor número de intermediarios mencionados en los papeles del offshore, Panamá figura en un lejano quinto lugar, detrás de Hong Kong, el Reino Unido, Suiza y los Estados Unidos. Para tener una idea de la diferencia entre el primero y el quinto lugar, basta señalar que Panamá aparece con menos del 25% de los intermediarios de Hong Kong.
Veamos ahora lo que escribieron los periodistas del diario alemán Süddeutsche Zeintung, Bastian Obermayer y Frederik Obermaier, autores del libro Los Papeles de Panamá (escrito originalmente en alemán y publicado en España, en español), en junio del 2016, sospechosamente apenas dos meses después de que estalló el escándalo de los denominados “Panama Papers”. En la página cuarenta y ocho del libro afirman los periodistas que el título original de su trabajo era “El bufete del mal”, y en la página 302 relatan cómo el nombre “Panama Papers” fue idea del director de la ICIJ, en Washington, Gerard Ryle. Luego añaden los periodistas del diario alemán en la página 303: “’Papeles de Panamá’… Será cuestión de acostumbrarse, pero suena bien. ¿O acaso hemos dejado de ser medianamente objetivos sobre nuestro mastodóntico proyecto?”. Fue, tal vez, esa falta de objetividad al escoger el nombre de nuestro país, solamente porque “sonaba bien”, la que llevó a los periodistas a incluir, bajo el título “Los Papeles de Panamá”, un subtítulo que dice textualmente: “El club mundial de los evasores de impuestos”.
El gran daño hecho a Panamá al arropar bajo su nombre a los evasores mundiales de impuestos es irreversible, pero al final del día la verdad siempre se abre camino y ya el péndulo comienza a regresar demostrando la injusticia cometida por los periodistas de la ICIJ pero, sobre todo, por los burócratas de la OCDE y algunos de sus países miembros, como Francia, que han aprovechado el escándalo para continuar atacando con una saña inusitada a nuestro país.
Lamentablemente, ahora nos enteramos de que, a pesar de la confesión de los propios autores del libro los Papeles de Panamá y de las verdades que están surgiendo de las investigaciones del Parlamento Europeo, otros interesados van a utilizar el nombre de “Panama Papers” para lucrar, sin importarle el daño que con ello siguen causando a nuestro país. Es el caso de la esposa del señor Joseph Stiglitz, Anya Schiffrin. Luego de que Stiglitz renunció, arteramente y con escándalo, a la comisión en la que había sido nombrado por el presidente de la república para estudiar cómo podía Panama mejorar su transparencia financiera, la señora de Stiglitz, profesora junto a su esposo de la Universidad de Columbia, en Nueva York, ha decidido dictar un curso al que ha puesto por nombre “The Panama Papers”. Como si el nombre de nuestro país fuera una mercancía con la cual se puede comerciar sin ninguna consecuencia. Ya hay algunos abogados panameños que han levantado sus voces de protesta, así como también entendemos que lo están haciendo exalumnos panameños de esa importante universidad de los Estados Unidos. Esperamos que el Gobierno Nacional se haga eco de esas protestas y deje oír su voz ante el atrevimiento que significa continuar utilizando el nombre de Panamá para mercadear escándalos.
Mientras tanto, y a pesar de todas las mentiras y los ataques de que ha sido víctima nuestro país, el péndulo sigue moviéndose, continúa alejándose de las mentiras y las calumnias para aproximarse a la verdad, que al final siempre termina prevaleciendo.

(English) Panama Adapts as an International Financial Center

by Bruce Zagaris

Published on TAX NOTES INTERNATIONAL

August 15th, 2016

Panama’s status as an international financial center remains strong despite the adverse publicity caused by the Panama Papers. Since the start of President Juan Carlos Varela’s administration on July 11, 2014, Panama has enacted many new laws on tax transparency and related financial regulatory matters, which resulted in the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes upgrading its rating of Panama. However, in April the Panama Papers revelations brought more attacks on Panama’s lack of transparency. Shortly thereafter, Panama signed the OECD common reporting standard (CRS) and agreed to implement it in 2018.

You can read the completed article on the following link: https://sites.morimor.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2016/09/Zagaris-08-15-2016.pdf