Nick Shaxson ■ Panama voices call it “Badge of Honor” to be called a tax haven

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PanamaWe recently blogged about Colombia’s decision to blacklist Panama because of its hostile role as tax haven for all sorts of dirty, criminal and corrupt Colombian drugs money. We also noted that Panama had the temerity to be outraged.

Now, from PanAm Post, something that really should stick in the craw:

“Recently, the Santos administration placed Panama, a traditional Colombian ally, on its list of international tax havens. Panama’s inclusion on this list, however, should not be considered a negative. Panamanian officials should be flattered to have been recognized for their respect for private property, unlike the vultures in other Latin-American countries. . . the Colombian government behaves like vultures, scavenging at resources that don’t belong to them.”

Which is even more bizarre, given that in the same article they note:

Recent articles suggest Panama is a safe route for illegal weapons traffickers, and other countries have also identified Panama as a tax haven and say that, at the end of the day, the country refuses to “cooperate.”

They bring out their worst anti-democratic impulses:

“Colombia wants to know what monetary resources have remained under the radar of tax authorities in order to tax them. The question then is: why, and to what end?”

 We had thought that – even though secrecy jurisdictions are alive and well, despite all the protestations out there – at least people were shame-faced enough these days to put up more sophisticated arguments than this.

Although this is just one voice from Panama, the fact that people feel able to say these things in public provides another indication that this is a particularly unreformed hard nut of financial secrecy and criminal facilitation – and supports our earlier assertion that Panama fully deserves to be hit with sanctions, and hit hard.

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