Panama Government acknowledged that penalizing tax fraud as a crime is an issue that is "pending" and has to be addressed shortly.
"It is an issue that Panama need to evaluate and debate," said Economy and Finance Minister Dulcidio De la Guardia, after attending a meeting with members of the Latin American Financial Action Task Force (Gafilat).
The Panamanian minister also indicated that starting to consider tax evasion as a criminal offense and not an administrative fault, as is currently the case, is a recommendation that has been extended by other international organizations besides the FATF, such as the International Monetary Fund, Global Organization of the OECD and the UN.
Last week, the UN special rapporteur on external debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, urged Panama to penalize "tax evasion" without delay.
De la Guardia said the government plans to conduct a "comparative study" on legislation in neighboring countries, convene a "national debate" to assess the desirability of penalizing tax evasion and to prepare a bill.