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Law on cryptocurrencies in Panama: strict measures

Panama has become infamous as a money laundering hub country and a popular destination for offshore accounts. The expression Panama papers acquired almost the right to enter the Larousse due to the impact of the eponymous scandal. So when it comes to building legislation on cryptocurrencies, the country’s authorities want to take all measures so that this country, which has often been criticized for its “strategic shortcomings” in the fight against money laundering, does not further strengthen its bad reputation on this issue of money laundering. The President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, in any case, does not intend to concede anything on this plan. According to Bloomberg News, he said he did not want to sign the new cryptocurrency bill until it included provisions for stricter anti-money laundering controls.

Panama Bitcoin

Cortizo wants stricter legislation against money laundering by means of cryptocurrencies

The bill has been voted on since last January. But the country’s Legislative Assembly is called upon to review its copy. For the President of the Republic, there is no question of continuing to give the world reasons to think that Panama is the hub of money laundering.

During a speech he gave at the Bloomberg News Economy Gateway Latin America Conference, Cortizo reaffirmed his position on the issue: ” I have to be very careful if the law contains clauses relating to money laundering activities. Anti-money laundering activities are very important to us. »

If passed, the law should allow cryptocurrency exchanges to obtain the license they need to operate in the country. However, it will also regulate all cryptocurrency transactions.

The bill will also allow the government to put public records on the blockchain. Supporters of this bill believe that it will make Panama an attractive country for fintech companies looking to invest in Latin America. Even the president acknowledged that this is a good law by saying that ” it’s an innovative law from what I’ve heard ».

Correct the image of the country

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed: ” [Les crypto] can be used to transfer the proceeds of corruption or circumvent capital controls ». By the way, the main argument of the detractors of cryptocurrencies is that they facilitate financial crime. To this reputation, we must add that of Panama in relation to laundering. Financial Action Task Force, the global money laundering and terrorist financing observer, has included Panama in its list of countries with ” strategic deficiencies “in the matter of money laundering. Panama is an attractive destination for those looking to launder money. Its proximity to Mexico and Colombia, two countries where large-scale drug organizations are rampant, is a risk factor.

Cortizo’s reticence with regard to the bill is therefore quite understandable. He was committed to changing this situation in the country by implementing the recommendations of the working group. He also plans to tighten restrictions on dirty money.

In conclusion, it should be recalled that President Cortizo does not intend to reject the entire bill. As we have recalled, he has a generally positive opinion on the project, even if he thinks that as it stands, he is not fighting money laundering sufficiently. We are waiting for the last draft, the one after the re-reading of the Legislative Assembly of Panama.

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Luc Jose Adjinacou avatar
Luke Jose Adjinacou

Far from having cooled my ardor, an unsuccessful investment in 2017 on a cryptocurrency only increased my enthusiasm. I therefore resolved to study and understand the blockchain and its many uses and to relay information related to this ecosystem with my pen.

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