Panama Government to Cooperate With Any Investigation Into Mossack-Fonseca
Panama’s government announced this week it will cooperate with any government that decides to investigate and/or make any indictments in relation to the allegedly illegal economic activities of the Panamanian Mossack-Fonseca law firm on behalf of several of its clients, as reported simultaneously by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and several other newspapers round the globe.
“Panama strongly supports every government’s decision to investigate its citizens if they are considered suspects in any criminal endeavor, including tax evasion,” said Panamanian Acting Minister of Foreign Relations Luis Miguel Hincapié in a letter sent Tuesday to Ángel Gurría, Secretary General for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The governments of Great Britain, Belgium, France, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, India, Mexico and Costa Rica have already announced their intention to initiate investigations concerning the people and corporations mentioned in the journalistic investigation published by member newspapers of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Nevertheless, Hincapié rejected the OECD’s “insinuations” that Panama’s laws and business culture were responsible for the questionable business practices denounced in the published press reports.
Gurría had referred to Panama as “the last great stronghold that continues to allow the hiding of offshore funds.”
“It must be clarified that there is not a single aspect on Panamanian culture or laws that could have promoted these allegedly bad practices as published in the ICIJ reports,” said Hincapié in his letter to Gurría.
In the wake of the news on the dealings of Mossack-Fonseca, US president Barack Obama described the revelations as “important stuff” and said the issue of global tax avoidance was a “huge problem.”
“There is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally is a huge problem… The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal,” Obama told reporters in an unscheduled appearance in the White House briefing room on Tuesday.