Ltd companies under scrutiny

  • 28/05/2009 02:00
  • 28/05/2009 02:00
PANAMA. Panama will receive a bad evaluation from the Caribbean Financial Action Group (CFATF) according to analysts, because the count...

PANAMA. Panama will receive a bad evaluation from the Caribbean Financial Action Group (CFATF) according to analysts, because the country did not comply with recommendations to prevent and repress money laundering in the financial center.

The CFATF deputy secretary, Ernesto Lopez said that Panama has not implemented any of the actions recommended by its organization with regards to the laws that govern limited companies.

Caribbean Financial Group is an organization formed by 30 countries of the Caribbean region and is part of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), whose mission is to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism around the world.

Lopez, who is taking part in the Third International Congress of the Prevention and Repression of Money Laundering related to Drug Trafficking, said that certain professionals, such as lawyers, are not subject to the international laws with regards to money laundering and that is a big problem.

According to a report from CFATF, Panama has not passed any regulations that oblige limited companies to give information about legal person to the Public Registry and the government office does not have the capacity to give current details about a particular company or trust.

The Panamanian authorities have not taken the appropriate steps to stop the usage of bearer stocks for illegal purposes.

The report also pointed out that the legal framework does not exist to ensure that the watchdog institutions and authorities have access to useful information about the true beneficiaries of legal companies created in the country.

This weakness is acknowledge by the Panamanian Financial Analysis Unit director, Amado Barahona, who said that the country has not updated the legal framework to be able to face the wave of criminality.

Barahora added that the CFATF criteria has been expanded and recognizes that Panama is an important financial center that manages great sums of money and therefore is in full view of the world.

This is not the first time that Panama has been under scrutiny by the CFATF over limited companies. In 2001, the then Bank Superintendent, Delia Cardenas had several meetings with representatives of the organization to try to remove the country from the black list.

Since then, Panama has been under pressure to change its laws.

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