• France's news in English
Panama Papers
France 'wrong' to designate Panama as a tax haven
Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said the decision taken by France's government is a wrong and unnecessary step. Photo: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP

France 'wrong' to designate Panama as a tax haven

AFP · 9 Apr 2016, 10:52

Published: 09 Apr 2016 10:52 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I want to be very clear that the decision taken by France's government is a wrong and unnecessary step, even more so given the communication between both heads of state and the fact the world needs multilateral cooperation from all countries to tackle global problems," he told reporters.

He added that his finance minister, Dulcidio de la Guardia, would travel to Paris on Tuesday to stress that Panama was a country that was "dignified, respectful and open to dialogue," as well as one committed to greater transparency.

France's finance minister, Michel Sapin, had said his government would put Panama back on its list of "uncooperative countries" in terms of sharing tax information.

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

A new ETNC designation means France would view all transactions with Panama with suspicion, presuming tax fraud unless there is evidence to the contrary.

France also urged the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to follow suit.

Panama's government immediately reacted by warning it could take retaliatory measures against France, including blocking French investment and withholding public tenders.

Since then, Varela has also emphasized his readiness to improve information-sharing with France, and has announced the creation of a commission to boost business transparency in his Central American country.

He and other officials also stress that they have implemented a series of reforms to curb the anonymity afforded companies incorporated in Panama.

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

Story continues below…

But in February, the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) removed Panama from its "gray list" of countries found lacking in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.

Being put back on that list, or on France's list of ETNCs, would deal a blow to Panama's financial services sector, which accounts for seven percent of gross domestic product.

The revelations in the Panama Papers, resulting from a massive hack of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, revealed how the world's wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

How Paris is rapidly becoming Europe's 'City of Innovation'
Photo: AFP

If you want to start a company then Paris is the place to do it, it seems.

'Jungle' clearance: Migrants begin to leave Calais camp
All photos: AFP

The "Jungle" clearance is underway.

France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

Parisians cheer on protesting French police
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
jobs available