Panama’s Economy and Finance Ministry has urged lawmakers to approve a bill that would make tax evasion a predicate offence for money laundering.
The Ministry noted that, if Panama fails to adopt the legislation, the country may be placed on the grey list of the anti-money laundering standards setter, the Financial Action Task Force.
The Ministry noted that the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT), after a recent review, reported progress made by Panama in closing gaps in its compliance with the FATF recommendations in respect of four recommendations. However, the review highlighted as a deficiency that fiscal crimes are not classified as predicate offenses to money laundering, the Ministry said, noting the concern is that, without the legislation, Panama will attract tax evasion assets from offenses committed abroad.
The Ministry said: “The seriousness of the fact that Bill No. 591 is not approved is that the country will have to face the real possibility of being included in the FATF Gray List in 2019. This is the deficiency that still remains unaddressed […].”
“The Ministry of Economy and Finance has informed the National Assembly about the adverse effects that the country would suffer by not giving priority to the discussion of this project that was presented to this body in January 2018,” it concluded.