The European Union Parliament voted to send back to its executive commission a proposed Blacklist of countries that are at risk of facilitating money laundering or terrorist financing, as its Members stated that the list was too short, and did not include tax havens known to be involved. The vote was reported to be 393 to 67, which resulted in a rejection of the list as drafted by the Parliament, according to the legislative body's website.
One prominent Member specifically pointed to the Republic of Panama, publicly remarking that "it is ridiculous that Panama, and other famous havens for dirty money, are still not on the [EU] Commission's Blacklist." This statement was widely reported in Europe, and reflects Members' known position on tax havens.
Panama was removed last year, from an earlier version of the Blacklist, after it claimed that it had closed the legal loopholes that facilitated money laundering, but there were persistent rumors that government officials in Panama City had made veiled threats, regarding a possible change in the conditions of visits of EU nationals to Panama, and access of EU-flagged vessels to the Canal, which resulted in the deletion of the country from last year's list.
The countries named on the rejected Blacklist draft appear below; note that none of the Caribbean tax havens, also known as offshore financial centers, are included:
(1) North Korea
(4) Bosnia & Herzegovina
The fact that Panama was specifically named by an MEP, for inclusion in a future draft of the Blacklist, should be taken into account by compliance officers, in updating their assessment of Country Risk on Panama.
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock
Journals of Monte Friesner