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FATF To Review Panama's Transparency Efforts In 2016

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
27 October, 2015

The Financial Action Task Force is to visit Panama in 2016 to review the country's efforts towards improving financial transparency, according to a recent announcement from Panama's Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 with the intention of setting standards and promoting effective implementation of legal, regulatory, and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The Economy Ministry said that Panama has completed an action plan agreed with the FATF as a condition for its removal from the FATF's "gray list" of countries with deficiencies in their financial regulatory regimes.

Deputy Minister of Finance Eyda Varela de Chinchilla said that the Government is pleased by the FATF's recognition of the progress made in Panama's efforts to prevent money laundering.

Countries that have expressed support and recognized the efforts of Panama include the United States, Spain, Mexico, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom, Canada, and the member states of Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT), it said.

The FATF announced in June last year that it had placed Panama on a list of countries which have developed an action plan with the FATF to address deficiencies in regulations for tackling money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Panama's action plan involves: (1) adequately criminalizing money laundering and terrorist financing; (2) establishing and implementing an adequate legal framework for freezing terrorist assets; (3) establishing effective measures for customer due diligence in order to enhance transparency; (4) establishing a fully operational and effectively functioning financial intelligence unit; (5) establishing suspicious transaction reporting requirements for all financial institutions and designated nonfinancial businesses and professions (DNFBPs); and (6) ensuring effective mechanisms for international co-operation.

The Panamanian Government expects that the FATF's visit will result in the removal of Panama from the "gray list."

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