Damage of publication of 'Pandora Papers' could be 'insurmountable,' Panama government says
The Panamanian government fears an investigation into financial impropriety will show the country once again in a bad light, according to a government letter quoted by local media on Saturday.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) plans to publish the findings of an investigation into tax havens - dubbed the "Pandora Papers" Sunday, prompting the government's comments.
"The damage could be insurmountable," said the Panamanian government in a letter sent to the ICIJ, via a law firm.
"Any publication" that reinforces a "false perception" of Panama as a possible tax haven "will have devastating consequences for Panama and its people," the letter reads.
On Sunday, the ICIJ announced on Twitter that it would publish its "most comprehensive financial security brief to date," based on the leak of 11.9 million documents "covering all corners of the world."
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The "Pandora Papers" analysis is the fruit of the work of more than 600 journalists in 117 countries, according to the ICIJ.
The letter sent from the Panamanian government cites several reforms carried out in the recent years by the Central American country, which nevertheless remains on the list of tax havens for France and the European Union.
It indicates that since 2016, more than 395,000 companies and foundations have had their registrations suspended, half of which had existed at the time.
Panama's government fears that the country will find itself caught up in another scandal and once again be regarded as a financial refuge, similar to the one triggered by the "Panama Papers" - an investigation published by the ICIJ in 2016.