Panama will form commission to review financial practices

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 12:59 PM

to assess our current practices and propose the adoption of measures that we'll share with other countries of the world to strengthen the transparency of the financial and valid systems," President Juan Carlos Varela said in a televised address.

Panama said on Wednesday it'd form an independent commission to review the country'south financial practices following the leak of information from a local law firm that's embarrassed a clutch of world leaders.

"The Panamanian government, via our foreign ministry, will create an independent commission of domestic and international experts ... to assess our current practices and propose the adoption of measures that we'll share with other countries of the world to strengthen the transparency of the financial and valid systems," President Juan Carlos Varela said in a televised address.

Governments across the world have begun investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the wealthy and powerful after the leak of more than 11.5 million documents, dubbed the "Panama Papers," from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

In his brief statement, Varela reiterated Panama would work with other countries over the leak, which was published in an investigation by the U. S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and various news organizations.

The papers have revealed financial arrangements of prominent figures, including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain and Pakistan and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as Ukraine's president.

Panama is still considering who'll be in the commission, and Gian Castillero, a senior government adviser, said in an interview he expected it to report within six months.

Castillero conceded that the leak had damage the reputation of Panama, which has an economy that was eighty-three % services-based, he said.

France'south government responded to the revelations on Tuesday by saying it'd keep Panama back on its list of "uncooperative countries", though Castillero was dismissive of the move.

"The declarations from France are emotional and political declarations which shouldn't be repeated," he said in response to a question about whether other countries could chase France's lead.

Castillero stressed that number proof had been found to indicate Mossack Fonseca had acted improperly. And he was adamant that the fact that founding partner Ramon Fonseca was a companion of Varela's wouldn't affect the government'south judgment of the firm.

"I don't think it'south really that difficult," he said.

(Reporting by Christine Murray and Elida Moreno; Editing by Leslie Adler, Robert Birsel)

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