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!