Panama's Minister of Economy and Finance, Dulce De La Guardia, has announced that new, and strong, anti-money laundering legislation is being prepared in Panama's National Assembly, designed to remove Panama from the "Grey List" of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This bill is also intended to remedy a serious situation: Panamanian banks, particularly the smaller financial institutions, are finding access to the international financial system, through US banks, delayed, or denied outright.
Panamanian companies have also found that they are unable to make transfers to their international customers or suppliers, as the direct result of the FATF designation, and a notification, by FinCEN, of the country's Grey List status, through an Advisory*. Some companies have reported that US banks are now conducting enhanced due diligence investigations on all major transactions involving Panamanian entities, and obtaining compliance approval, prior to processing them, which could adversely affect any time-sensitive business matters.
The bill will require Panamanian NBFIs, such as real estate agencies, insurance companies, casinos, attorneys, accountants, money service businesses, notaries public, and precious metals and gemstone traders, will all be required to maintain effective AML/CFT program, through a compliance office, and have procedures in place to identify suspicious transactions, and if appropriate, report them to regulators.
As soon as the details of this bill become public, we shall summarize it on this blog.