Panama Papers | Panama to create panel to improve transparency

The panel, president Juan Carlos Varela said, would examine working practices and propose measures that could strengthen the transparency of the financial and legal systems

Panama is creating an international panel to help improve transparency in its offshore financial industry, president Juan Carlos Varela said.

The move follows the leak of millions of documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, showing it helped some clients evade tax and avoid sanctions.

Several countries are probing possible financial crimes by the rich and powerful in the aftermath of the leak and Varela said his country would work with others over the revelations.

"The Panamanian government, via our foreign ministry, will create an independent commission of domestic and international experts," he said in a televised address.

The panel, he said, would examine working practices and propose measures that could be shared to strengthen the transparency of the financial and legal systems.

Correspondents say the president is eager to defend his country against a "media attack" by wealthy countries that he says are unfairly stigmatising him following the leak.

Mossack Fonseca, for its part, says that it has been the victim of a hack - Mossack Fonseca partner Ramon Fonseca insisted the leak was not an "inside job", and that the company had been hacked by servers based abroad.

Mossack Fonseca has accused media organisations reporting the leak of having "unauthorised access to proprietary documents and information taken from our company" and of presenting this information out of context.

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