‘Panama Papers is a fight be­tween world pow­ers’

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

PANAMA CITY—The Panama Papers re­veal­ing off­shore se­crets of the wealthy is re­ally the re­sult of a be­hind-the-scenes fight of big global pow­ers, Panama’s pres­i­dent said.

“It looks like in­ter­nal pol­i­tics and dif­fer­ences be­tween the big pow­ers is play­ing a role in how these is­sues are be­ing han­dled,” Pres­i­dent Juan Car­los Varela said.

“What I don’t think is good is that big pow­ers that want to fight are us­ing Panama as a ter­ri­tory for that fight,” he said. “If they want to fight they should do so in their own coun­tries, and not use our fi­nan­cial and fis­cal sys­tem.”

Varela’s com­ments came just ahead of the re­lease on­line of a data­base drawn from the Panama Papers — a mas­sive dig­i­tal trove of doc­u­ments copied from the servers of a Pana- ma­nian law firm, Mos­sack Fon­seca, which spe­cial­izes in off­shore busi­ness.

The In­ter­na­tional Con­sor­tium of In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ists (ICIJ), a US-based out­fit that net­works in­ves­tiga­tive re­porters around the world, was mak­ing pub­lic data from a por­tion of the 11.5 mil­lion Mos­sack Fon­seca doc­u­ments.

Since news re­ports on the Panama Papers emerged in early April, Varela and his gov­ern­ment have been ar­gu­ing that the tax-avoid­ance and mon­ey­laun­der­ing is­sues they raised were a global prob­lem, and not just Panama’s.

“We are ready for what­ever is pub­lished,” Varela said.

“The is­sue of these fa­mous papers is a sub­ject about the world fi­nan­cial sys­tem. It is not a Panama prob­lem — it is a world prob­lem,” he said. – AFP

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