On November 12, the Executive Branch enacted, through the Official Gazette, the law that introduces modifications to the current legislation on fiscal transparency and asset laundering, reaching non-financial subjects such as companies operating in the Colon Free Zone or other free zones of Panama. The initiative, presented by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Héctor Alexander, seeks to demonstrate Panama’s compliance with international standards on the matter in order to improve its rating in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The regulation is already in force.
The bill amends several existing regulations, including Law 52 of 2016, Law 23 of 2015 and the Tax Code. Thus, it includes more information requirements and obligations regarding the accounting records of certain legal entities, increases the fines for those who do not comply with the law, and modifies the definition of “beneficial owners”. Also, it also adds an article for financial and non-financial regulated entities related to the due diligence that must be conducted in their operations, among others.
Regarding non-financial entities, the regulation establishes that companies established in the different special economic areas established in the Panamanian territory, such as the Colon Free Zone or the Panama-Pacific Agency, will be supervised for the prevention of money laundering, financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Superintendency of Non-Financial Subjects is authorized to request information and documents of the activities, operations and services of the companies to verify the correct compliance with the legislation.