The French minister of public accounts, Gérald Darmanin, was in Panama on Monday to talk with financial officials as the country continues to struggle with its image as a tax haven enhanced by the “Panama Papers” activities of local law firm Mossack Fonseca, now the subject of a soon to be released movie “Laundromat”.
France seeks to improve cooperation and exchange of tax information with which it considers a tax haven. "For France and the European Union, international financial transparency is a fundamental requirement," Darmanin said on his Twitter account. The purpose of the visit is to "improve cooperation between France and Panama in fiscal matters" and "find solutions to fight effectively" against fraud and tax evasion, according to a statement from the French government.
France withdrew Panama from its list of tax havens in 2012 after an agreement against tax evasion, but included it again in 2016 with the international Panama Papers scandal, which revealed how numerous companies were created by a Panamanian law Some of the opaque companies served for business, sports and entertainment personalities from around the world to evade taxes and launder capital. The 22 states affected by this scandal managed to recover about $1.2 billion of which $136 million are French, according to the media research consortium that revealed the case. France and Panama have agreements to avoid double taxation, but France is not satisfied with the exchange of tax information of its citizens that could be evading taxes.