We never thought Panama was such a great place to hide money from the tax man. Too corrupt, too scammy, crooked banks with lousy service, no rule of law, you need a lawyer even to go to the bathroom, overpriced incorporation and so on. We know of Panamanian credit cards being refused abroad because, well, they're Panamanian - the Nigeria of the Americas. There are much better places and ways to hide assets than what the isthmus has to offer. But of course the Panama hypers saw that differently and kept promoting our third world hellhole as a paradise where tax dodgers, money launderers and hustlers could enjoy unlimited financial privacy and bullet-proof asset protection. And we, they said, were just being "negative".
All those who actually believed that crap are now royally screwed. We told you so!
What happened? Well, anyone with half a brain could see this coming already two presidencies ago when tax evasion became a crime in Panama. And now there's tax treaties. Panama wants off blacklists and grey lists such as that of the OECD, so they're signing these tax information exchange treaties and double taxation treaties, and the latest is with the United States of America.
To avoid mass suicides by the Panama hypers and other bottom feeders of the financial underworld - Eduardo Morgan already publicly in tears, others soon to follow - the exact contents of the agreement are kept secret, but the grist of it is that there won't be any more (anonymous) bearer shares for corporations and Panama will give the US information about assets held directly or ultimately by US citizens in Panamanian banks. UPDATE: The full text in English is now available on Sam Taliaferro's site.
So what was already bad and shady has now lost its flawed privacy too. Bye bye, financial industry! Bye bye, overpriced lawyers!
The IRS has already set up shop in the US embassy. We guess they will be hiring extra staff pretty soon.
Those who paid those inflated prices and lawyers for their corporations held by foundations and nominee directors and went through the hellish process of opening an account with one of our coconut banks - what are they gonna do? No doubt the same providers who sold them all that crap will now come up with new schemes to expatriate assets somewhere else - Escape from Panama - and no doubt their gullible victims will fall for it again. This will be sooo much fun to watch!
This news combined with the domino effect of the world economic crisis is good news for the few legitimate expats choosing to live here. Adios gallotes! Adios real estate speculators y developers and mucho más!
@pj – good point!
We just came to retire and chill, and who cares what happens to the sleazy gringos that came to be bottom feeders, and live off the backs of the Panamanians, you can run but you can´t hide
What most of the Gringo’s and Expats fail to understand with this secret treaty that was just recently exposed last week, is that it is not aimed at the majority of those who are only sheltering legal assets!
This is directly aim at small, medium to large scale laundering!
What you must really realize is that there will be a rather large sucking sound as billions and billions are withdrawn form the Panamanian owned and registered Banks within Panama!
As usual here in Panama, they will attack and remove the assets of the little fish here first and let the big ones get away!
Why do you think it was done secretly and without the knowledge of the Panamanian Banks and Banking Commission?
This a is a big power play by this government to redirect any misdeeds, corruption on it part to any of it’s direct opposition Parties and/or individuals, and corrupted Ministries and individuals not in line with this Governments horrid monetary and Corrupted policies!
The Government here will expose any one or anything that does not play within it Command and Control structure!
More liberties are now held at bay and denial of constitutional rights that were once for the people of Panama!
This is just another play out of the manual of Right Wing Governments!
“Panama where the numbers never add up”
Couldn’t have happened to nicer guys. However, the cynic in me says that corruption is corruption regardless of time or place, so I think it will be a case in the future of how much a person may have to pay to suppress certain information. Noriega taught us well how to be double agents.
Having said that, it’s about time that Panama cleaned up its act. It’s bad enough to have the Noriega legacy attached at the mere mention of the name ‘Panama’, let alone cementing the country’s reputation as a haven for shysters.