The highest risk of money laundering in Panama is now concentrated in the zones of free zones, construction, real estate and legal services, according to a study by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
The country is involved in an offensive to prevent corruption and organized crime, after being involved in the international scandal known as Panama Papers and receiving accusations of tax haven, which were revived when executives of the multinational Odebrecht confessed to bribes in the country.
In order to analyze vulnerabilities and measures to prevent this type of crime, the authorities carried out the National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in this capital, through which external and internal scenarios were identified.
The weaknesses of the Colon Free Zone (ZLC), the second largest in the world, were pointed out in multiple aspects of the analysis, so it receives periodic checks from the Administration for Supervision and Regulation of Non-Financial Subjects of the MEF.
Facing a 30 percent drop in the ZLC’s economic activity, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs are carring out transactions with cash, which was pointed out by its general manager, Surse Pierpoint, as a vulnerability, even if it is only 10 percent of trade.