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Pandora Papers cause rejection and harsh criticism in Panama

The pandora papers, the leak of millions of documents on extraterritorial companies, caused this Monday the rejection of the lawyers’ union and harsh criticism from a former head of the tax office of Panama, where the law firm that stands out in the report of the International Consortium of Panama is from. Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The president of the National Bar Association (CNA) of Panama, Juan Carlos Araúz, said on Monday that this union cannot allow “the legal services provided” by the country’s firms to be demonized, and he censured “the illicit nature” with the that “communications from lawyers and clients are aired through the media and that they intend to supplant institutional channels.”

In a press conference, Araúz defended that the public limited companies “are legitimate services that from Panama have helped world trade”, and pointed out that this nation “is not a tool for the control of any country but it is not involved in any irregular conduct”.

The Panamanian law firm Alemán, Cordero, Galindo y Lee (Alcogal) is one of the main protagonists of Pandora’s papers. According to the ICIJ, “more than two million” come from this of the total of 11.9 million confidential records of law firms and offshore service providers compiled in the report.

“In total, almost half of the politicians whose names appear” on Pandora’s papers “were linked to Alcogal,” which “acted as a corporate intermediary for more than 160 politicians and public officials, records show,” ICIJ said. .

Alcogal described the ICIJ report as “conjectures, inaccuracies and falsehoods” on Sunday, to the point that “in some cases, the people mentioned were never clients” of its own, and defended that for 35 years it had “been subject to supervision by regulatory entities. in different jurisdictions with flawless results ”.


Publio Cortés, who was head of the Panamanian tax office during the Government of Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019), denounced in a public letter that “an influential sector with a conflict of interest of the elite of Panama” has had “success by delaying the inevitable compliance with international standards of fiscal transparency and the fight against money laundering ”in the country.

This “conflict between Panama and the international community, which has been going on for more than two decades (is) causing very serious damage to reputation and to the country brand,” said Cortés, a lawyer specializing in tax matters.

“Can it have any kind of logic that our little Panama ‘declares war’ on the G-20 (…) leaving the country’s prestige on the floor, to defend the business of corporate opacity (NOC), whose contribution Panama’s GDP is less than 1%, according to official figures based on their own income tax returns? ”said the former head of the Panamanian tax collecting office.

Panama is included in several international lists of countries with deficiencies in the fight against money laundering, despite the country’s efforts to improve its fiscal scaffolding.


The Public Ministry (MP, Prosecutor’s Office) reported this Monday that it is “analyzing” the content of Pandora’s papers “to verify whether there is a basis for the initiation of a criminal investigation.”

The Panamanian Prosecutor’s Office added that “it will offer the international criminal cooperation required by other states and jurisdictions mentioned, to effectively combat all forms of commission of crimes.”

Already on Sunday the Government of Panama said that it will supervise the entities and subjects mentioned in the Pandora Papers, and assured that it works determined “to counteract the negative repercussions of any tangential or conjunctural scandal in which the country wants to involve itself.”

Panama still suffers damage to its reputation from the Panama Papers, ICIJ’s pioneering research. This leak of 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in April 2016 revealed that personalities from around the world hired the services of that firm, now defunct, to create offshore companies allegedly to evade taxes.



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