Reports from Panama have confirmed that legitimate, blank Panamanian passports are being sold online. This is the first confirmed news, regarding the availability of authentic Panamanian passports.
Bogus Panamanian travel documents have long been available; just recently the authorities shut down a network that we vending fake passports for $705. Cuban nationals have been the targeted consumers, although the quality of the bogus passports has been poor, and generally insufficient to pass US and EU arrival scrutiny at Immigration. This new availability of the real thing is disturbing, for it is a game-changer regarding how much due diligence compliance officers will now have to perform on new Panamanian clients.
It is suggested that bankers detail a Panamanian employee, where available, to speak to the new client, in order to validate that the individual is truly a Panamanian, and using slang words, as well as cultural terms specific to Panama. Otherwise, a bank may unwittingly accept an OFAC-sanctioned individual, narcotics trafficker, or money launderer.