Week in Review – Vol. 35 No. 6


Four major port operators from Denmark, France and Singapore were prequalified in the bidding process for the design, construction and operation of the container transshipment port of Corozal, to be built on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal with a calculated investment of at least $500 million. The four port operators are APM Terminals (Denmark), Terminal Link (France), PSA International (Singapore) and Terminal Investment Limited (the Netherlands), said the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).


Panama will bend to the demands on taxation made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by 2018 and implement the necessary mechanisms to adopt the model of automatic exchange of financial information. In a letter sent Monday, May 9, to the headquarters of the international organization in Paris, France, the vice president of Panama, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, unequivocally committed to the international entity.


Panama, Lebanon, Bahrain, Nauru and Vanuatu have accepted the automatic exchange of tax information, but on a bilateral basis and not under the multilateral device prepared by the Global Forum on Transparency, under the OECD. In a statement of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Global Forum announced that the five countries “have committed to automatically exchange financial account information with other countries”.


The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made public the 11.5 million documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and which gave rise to the scandal called “The Panama Papers”. The database contains information on more than 200,000 companies, foundations and funds, based in 21 countries, from the US to Hong Kong, it was confirmed through its website.


The law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co announced it will begin “forceful legal action” against the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) after making public the so-called “Panama Papers”. In a statement, the firm indicates that “As a responsible company, respectful of press freedom and media, we have sought to avoid legal action.”


The defense lawyers of businessman Abdul Waked have access to the file of the Attorney General’s Office following allegations of money laundering and drug trafficking made by the US Treasury Department. Lawyer Guillermina McDonald can now learn the content of the summary under investigation initiated against her client, businessman Abdul Waked, first by the prosecutor specializing in drug offenses, Markel Mora.


Almost a hundred workers of Panamanian companies belonging to the Waked family, accused of laundering drug money, participated in a Colon vigil to support the family clan. The demonstrators, dressed in white, also asked the government to take measures and to guarantee their jobs, threatened since May 5, when the US Treasury included several members of the Waked family on the so-called Clinton List, accused of managing a global network of money laundering from drug trafficking.


Executives of Grupo Editorial El Siglo and La Estrella (GESE) met with the Chamber of Commerce (CCIAP) and the National Association of Journalists (Conape) to detail the plan that they would trigger following the restriction on their normal operations until July 6. Against the background that this group lives through, they have decided to apply to the United States Treasury Department for an extension of six months to a year to continue the functions of these newspapers.


The Attorney General, Kenya Porcell, met with diplomatic delegations from almost everyone accredited in the country and offered to provide “full cooperation” regarding the case of the so-called “Panama Papers”, said an official source. Porcell told diplomats that she has knowledge of the facts and began with her team a whole strategy from the point of structurally and functionally “addressing a case of this magnitude.”


“Panama should not be afraid to launch an offensive,” said Malcolm Stevenson, better known as Steve Forbes, editor of Forbes business magazine, referring to the impact on the country from the scandal called “The Panama Papers”. For Forbes, an American executive who has been two times Republican presidential candidate, the damage caused by the scandal involving the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, must be reversed.

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