France places Panama back on list of tax havens

French Finance Minister puts Panama back on list of countries that don’t cooperate in catching tax evaders.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris following the weekly cabinet meeting
Finance Minister Sapin said Panama is back on list of countries not cooperating against tax evaders. [Filepic: Gonzalo Fuentes /Reuters]

France will place Panama back on its list of countries that do not cooperate in efforts to track down tax evasion, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said after the Panama papers leak created global outrage.

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“France has decided to put Panama back on the list of uncooperative countries, with all the consequences that will have for those who have transactions” with the central American state, Sapin told parliament on Tuesday.

Panama “wanted to have us believe that it could respect major international principles,” Sapin said. “That’s how it managed to avoid being on the blacklist of tax havens.”

France erased Panama from the list of Uncooperative States and Territories (ETNC) in 2012 after the two countries reached a bilateral agreement on fighting tax dodgers.

In December the finance ministry warned that it was “very attentive” to changes in France’s relations with Panama, faulting a poor response to requests for information.

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The Panama Papers, a massive leak of secret offshore financial dealings implicating world leaders and celebrities, has pushed many countries to start investigations.

Panama figured on a list of 30 tax havens last June when the European Commission unveiled its plan to combat tax evasion by multi-nationals.

Source: AFP