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Transparency International calls on Panama to honour transparency and financial reform commitments

Transparency International received confirmation from the Government of Panama that it will publish the final report of the independent committee on financial reform.

The global anti-corruption organisation had expressed concern about the transparency of the process following the resignations of Joseph Stiglitz and Mark Pieth, two international members of the committee.

José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International, confirmed on 12 August with Isabel Saint Malo, Vice President of Panama, that final report will be made publicly available later this year.

The independent committee is tasked to review Panama’s financial sector in the wake of the publication of the Panama Papers, a cache of millions of leaked documents that showed how a Panamanian law firm was able set up networks of secret companies for global clients that were in some cases used to hide illicit wealth and evade taxes.

“Panama has an opportunity to strengthen the transparency of its financial and legal system drawing on best practice recommendations from around the world. We are confident that the government, as offered, will publish the report of the international task force as soon as possible and establish a timetable for reform and the end of secrecy that has allowed the corrupt to hide their wealth,” said Ugaz.

Transparency International alongside a multi-stakeholder coalition are in the process of creating a global public beneficial ownership register. The international community should support us in this endeavour and enforce full transparency of company ownership and control information, ending the use of secret companies to bid for public contracts and purchase real estate with corrupt proceeds. Clearing House, which represents the world’s largest banks, has said there is no legitimate need for anonymous companies.

Panama has taken some steps to bring the country in line with global transparency efforts including signing the Intergovernmental Agreement with the United States for the implementation of FATCA and the announcement of the commitment to automatic exchange of tax information according to the OECD’s Common reporting Standard by 2018.

* This release was updated on 18 August 2016.

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