FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 12, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
The European Union has added Panama to its tax haven blacklist because of non-compliance with global transparency criteria, notably shortcomings in its tax information exchanges. Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, who has been working to improve Panama’s image as a financial jurisdiction, has called the list “arbitrary” and has asked the EU to measure Panama with the same yardstick as other countries. The Banking Association of Panama has emphatically rejected the “unfair” decision. This month, Panama’s financial system was ranked the 15th most opaque of 133 countries evaluated in the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index 2020 – the US was ranked second only to the Cayman Islands, while the UK and several EU countries were also found to have financial systems more opaque than Panama’s.
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