Martinelli Passes Law to Immobilize Bearer Shares in Panama

By Dialogo
August 08, 2013

Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli passed a law that immobilizes bearer shares in that country so that in the case that it is required by a competent authority, its owner will be made known to avoid tax evasion.

The new law states that owners of bearer shares “should appoint an authorized custodian, to maintain a record of the final beneficiary of said instruments,” according to the Panamanian government.

The goal is to require a qualified authority that can “obtain updated information of the shares’ owner,” without affecting their free movement in a reserved manner,” said a statement.

With this law, Panama’s government is trying to adapt its legislation to international standards in order to avoid being included on lists of tax havens.

The new legislation, which will take effect in two years, represents an attempt by the government of Ricardo Martinelli to prevent controversial bearer shares to be used to avoid taxes or hide assets.

With this measure, “Panama is reinforcing its message to adhere to the best practices of transparency in the use of financial services,” according to the Panamanian government.

In addition, the Central American nation has signed over a dozen agreements to exchange tax information and avoid double taxation with member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).