The Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, has removed the Republic of Panama from its so-called "Grey List" of uncooperative jurisdictions. The FATF action, which took place at a Plenary Meeting in Paris, occurred after the organization concluded that needed reforms had been enacted.
Unfortunately, widespread money laundering, as well as terrorist financing, continues to exist in Panama City. There are neither money laundering prosecutions, nor suppression of the banking center's constant movement of funds to sanctioned global terrorist organizations, including most of those operating the Middle East.
Banks located in the United States have not responded to the FATF announcement. Currently, twenty-one major American financial institutions refuse to allow any Panamanian bank to open a correspondent relationship, and others will only allow small wire transfers into Panamanian banks.
The so-called Reform Movement, initiated by President Juan Carlos Varela, has succeeded in passing sufficient legislation to convince the FATF that Panama had changed, but, in truth and in fact, the country's powerful criminal syndicate remains in full operation, laundering drug profits, for both the Cartels, and Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. Nothing has changed, but the removal of Panama from the Grey List makes a superb photo opportunity for President Varela, and his supporters.