President of Panama says tax evasion a global problem

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President Juan Varela
President Juan Varela
The President of Panama, Juan Varela, has criticised the singling out of his country for the various tax dodging schemes revealed in the massive data breach known as Panama Papers.

“Panama does not deserve to be singled out on an issue that plagues many countries,’’ Varela said, adding that the problem of tax evasion was a global one.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed that thousands of offshore tax havens in which politicians, sports stars and celebrities from over 80 countries hid their money.

The leaked information, amounting to millions of documents, came from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which set up the many shell companies.

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“In spite of their names, the Panama Papers are not mainly about Panama, they are not even primarily concerned with Panamanian companies.

“But we are willing to accept the responsibility for fixing it.

“The world must tackle this problem collectively and with urgency, and Panama stands ready to lead the way,’’ Varela said.