Further reacting to media reports that the European Commission’s delegated regulation will propose the inclusion of several jurisdictions in its list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies, Miguel Verzbolovskis, Ambassador of Panama to the European Union, stated:
“The Government of the Republic of Panama stresses the fact that on Tuesday 29 January the plenary of our National Assembly approved a law to criminalise tax offences as a predicate offence for money laundering.
This constitutes a paramount achievement for Panama, and is the result of many years of dialogue and close cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force. In the past 5 years we have reviewed our national legislation and administrative practices, and there is a clear compliance increase across the scorecard of FATF recommendations.
The Government of the Republic of Panama expresses its deepest concern regarding a potential inclusion in the European Commission’s list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies, as recently reported. The timely adoption of our national law by democratic means is concrete proof of our will to cooperate and adhere to international standards and to directly address criticism. Panama’s inclusion in the Commission’s list would amount to unfair punishment for progress and coming into compliance with the FATF’s recommendations.
The Government of the Republic of Panama officially requests the European Commission to reconsider, taking account of our progress, and to engage in open and serious dialogue, as called for in its own methodology and in existing bilateral arrangements between the EU and Panama, so as to address any further specific criticism it may have.
We restate our aim to continue being a strategic partner in Latin America for the European Union, and a competitive hub for foreign investment while adhering to international standards.”
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama