The French government has returned Panama to its official tax haven ‘blacklist’, in the wake of the recent, much-publicised leak of confidential documents from a Panamanian law firm, which has shed fresh light on the use of offshore structures to hide financial assets.
Panama had been removed from the French blacklist of financial jurisdictions in 2012.
Other countries that France currently regards as non-cooperative jurisdictions in its fight against financial against fraud include Botswana, Brunei, Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Niue.
In an interview with French radio channel Europe 1, French minister of Finance Michel Sapin said Panama’s ambition to comply with OECD standards in the fight against fraud was “a lure”.
Sapin called other members of the OECD to blacklist Panama as well.
The minister, who recently unveiled a draft law on the modernisation of French economy, also declared he would consider offering money to whistleblowers in exchange for data of the kind that’s been exposed by the so-called ‘Panama Papers’ haul.
He added, though, that such remunerations in exchange for data would only be provided in exceptional cases.
As reported, more than 11 million documents were passed by an as-yet-unidentified source to Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, which then shared them with the US-based ICIJ. The ICIJ in turn passed them on to some 107 media organisations, including the BBC’s Panorama TV show and the UK’s Guardian newspaper, in 78 countries around the world, which began reporting on their contents on Sunday.
Thus far a number of public figures have been put on the spot by some of the revelations, including Russian president Vladimir Putin. Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was forced to step down yesterday, following protests by as many as 22,000 people in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik, after his name came up in the leaked documents as being linked to an offshore group now controlled by his wife.
This article was first published by International Investment’s sister publication Investment Europe.