The Panama government on Monday said it will hold negotiations with India’s Ministry of External Affairs Tuesday to negotiate a tax information exchange agreement, which will help India get more information on Indians’ accounts held in Panama.
Maria Luisa Navarro, vice minister of multilateral affairs and cooperation, Republic of Panama, said at an event on Monday that till such information exchange agreement is signed with India, it can share information related to Indians’ accounts only if comes through judicial process or courts.
“Unless it comes through judiciary we don’t have a mechanism to exchange information with India,” she said.
She said the two countries have already held one round of negotiations on the proposed agreement but did not specify a timeline on when these can be concluded. The finance ministry has written to Panama seeking information on Indian accounts held in the country.
Stressing that it has taken a number of steps to address issues arising out of the Panama Papers, Navarro said her country has been mislabeled as a tax haven, especially since residents pay up to 35 per cent tax on income generated in Panama. Any income generated by a Panama resident abroad is not taxed in the country, she said.
She said Panama was open to consider as many treaties as possible with other countries to facilitate exchange of information. She clarified that tax evasion cannot be a cause for criminal investigation in Panama.
As many as 500 names of Indians figure in the Panama Papers as having links with offshore companies set up by law firm Mossack Fonseca in tax havens across the world, an ongoing investigation by The Indian Express has revealed.