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Panama becomes member of global convention on tax transparency

Panama on Thursday became the member of a global convention that aims to combat cross-border tax evasion by sharing foreign taxpayer details with other governments, a move considered by 'Panama Papers' leak affected nations like India as positive in unravelling the financial irregularities.


Panama becomes member of global convention on tax transparency

Paris: Panama on Thursday became the member of a global convention that aims to combat cross-border tax evasion by sharing foreign taxpayer details with other governments, a move considered by 'Panama Papers' leak affected nations like India as positive in unravelling the financial irregularities.

Panama signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters here, making it the 105th nation to join the world's leading instrument to combat the menace of cross-border money laundering and tax evasion.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -- a global economic body headquartered here -- welcomed the development saying this shows that "Panama is now implementing its commitment to fully cooperate with the international community on transparency."

After the names of about 500 Indian entities were published as part of the 'Panama Papers' leaks early this year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Indian government had set up a Multi-Agency Group (MAG) of probe agencies to investigate these names and entities mentioned in the leaks.

The MAG comprises officials from agencies like RBI, IT department, Financial Intelligence Unit, Enforcement Directorate and Foreign Tax and Tax Research.

A senior Finance Ministry official in New Delhi told PTI that the development is a good move to make cross-border investigations more cooperative.

"The signing of the convention will surely help all countries affected by Panama Papers leak including India," the official said.

India had joined the convention in 2012.

"Panama's decision to sign the multilateral convention is a confirmation of its commitment to take the necessary steps to meet international expectations in the fight against tax evasion," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said after a signing ceremony with Panama's Ambassador to France Mar?a Del Pilar Arosemena de Alem?n.

"It also sends a clear signal that the international community is united in its efforts to stamp out offshore tax evasion. We will continue our efforts until there is nowhere left to hide," Gurria said in a statement.

The 'Panama Papers' leaks contain a huge amount of information, including more than 11 million documents covering 2,10,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions.

Each transaction spans a number of jurisdictions and may involve multiple entities and individuals. The ICIJ had also added that there could be legitimate uses of offshore companies and trusts.

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