Panama moves to boost transparency amid documents leak

Panama's government is creating an international committee of experts to recommend ways to boost transparency in the Central American country's offshore financial industry.

President Juan Carlos Varela is trying to shore up confidence in his nation's financial sector after the leaking of 11.5 million documents from a prominent Panama-based law firm which helped create shell companies for the world's rich and famous.

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Investigators raid Panama Papers law firm property

Leaked data from Mossack Fonseca led to the Panama Papers revelations Credit: PA

Panamanian authorities raided a property used by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm whose leaked documents led to the 'Panama Papers' revelations.

"We have secured a large amount of evidence found in the location," said organized crime investigator Javier Caraballo, adding that some of the evidence was in the form of shredded documents.

The Panama Papers leaks have embarrassed several world leaders and shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of offshore companies.

Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore companies, has said it broke no laws, destroyed no documents and all its operations were legal.


Panama Papers 'will not be made public in full'

The newspaper in Germany which first got hold of the leaked 'Panama Papers' has said it will not make all the files public as it would not be in the public interest.

A protest in Iceland following the release of the so-called Panama Papers Credit: Reuters

Sueddeutsche Zeitung was sent the documents - a huge collection of data relating to offshore companies - more than a year ago from an anonymous source.

Leading politicians, celebrities and business chiefs have been named in media reports since, prompting public protests, investigations and the resignation of Iceland's prime minister.

The complete set of 11.5 million documents "won't be made available to the public or to law enforcement agencies", the paper said, adding: "That's because the SZ isn't the extended arm of prosecutors or the tax investigators."

Iceland appoints new PM after Panama Papers leak

Iceland's ruling party has appointed a new Prime Minister after the previous incumbent stepped aside amid the Panama Papers leak scandal.

Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson has been appointed as Iceland's new Prime Minister Credit: Reuters

The Progressive Party selected fisheries and agriculture minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson to lead until new elections are held in the autumn.

Opposition parties agreed with the ruling coalition that the elections should be brought forward following the resignation of previous Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

Gunnlaugsson stepped down after the leak of documents from a company in Panama, dubbed the 'Panama Papers', showed his wife owned a firm with links to the island's collapsed banks, sparking protests across the country.

Recent polls show the opposition Pirate Party, led by Birgitta Jonsdottir, is in the lead.


Panama vows to 'evaluate' financial practices

President Juan Carlos Varela said a panel of experts would examine his country's financial practices Credit: Reuters

Panama's president has said his government will establish an independent panel of experts to review the country's financial practices, in the wake of the Panama Paper leaks.

Juan Carlos Varela's comments come amid the fallout from the leaked emails of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca that have exposed tax avoidance measures by wealthy individuals and embarrassed a number of world leaders.

The Panamanian government, via our foreign ministry, will create an independent commission of domestic and international experts ... to evaluate our current practices and propose the adoption of measures that we will share with other countries of the world to strengthen the transparency of the financial and legal systems.

– Juan Carlos Varela, president of Panama
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