France and Panama sign deal to tackle tax evasion

23 Aug 19

Three years on from the Panama Papers data leak, France has signed an agreement with Panama to try to fight tax evasion.

The Central American country, which elected a new government in May, wants to shed its status as a tax haven and be removed from ‘dirty-money’ blacklists.

The two countries signed a memorandum to bring tax cooperation in line with international standards, French minister of public action and accounts Gérald Darmanin said on Twitter.

At the start of his visit to his Panamanian counterpart Héctor Alexander, he said international financial transparency is a “fundamental requirement” for France and the EU.

Alexander, along with the rest of the government, is desperate for Panama to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s ‘grey list’, which it was re-added to in June.

The memorandum will establish a ‘bilateral task force’ that will meet twice a year to exchange ideas and information in the fight against tax evasion and money laundering.

In an interview with French financial newspaper Les Échos, Darmanin said France had so far recovered €130m from French cases in the Panama Papers.

He promised to “boost tax intelligence” to try to capture international and domestic transgressors, and said that in France there is the potential for “billions” to be recovered by dealing with VAT fraud alone.

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