Bank Superintendent proposes to strengthen and revise current banking legislation.
The market continues to be attractive for big corporations, such as the French Calyon Bank.
Olegario Barrelier, Panama’s Bank Superintendent, recognized that money laundering takes place in the country, as occurs in other countries that attempt to be models to follow in the fight against this affliction.
“It affects and embarrasses us that this occurs in our country,” said Barrelier when advocating for immediate reforms to the existing legislation. Barrelier proposes making legislation more robust and more adequate in light of the new trends that arise when fighting against money laundering, adding that they are already working on this.
“We should modernize our laws, not because somebody is forcing us to, but because it is in the best interests of Panama to not leave the country in the hands of delinquents,” the superintendent responded to the representatives’ questions, taking advantage of his appearance before the Budget Commission.
He insisted that it should not be a consolation for the Panamanians in New York, Marseilles, Antwerp, Naples and the Mexican-American border, among others, where more money in laundered than in Panama.
In order to modernize legislation, Law 9 of 1998 must be modified, which regulates banking activity, in the chapter that outlines the amount of reserves that should be maintained.
Furthermore, Law 42 of October 2000 must be modified, which establishes the means to prevent money laundering, in order to include new methods and professions, such as lawyers and accounts.
Calyon Bank may come
Barrelier emphasized the importance of continuing to work on strengthening the image of Panama’s banking center, in order to continue maintaining its relevance and attractiveness to big entities such as Calyon, France’s largest private bank, which is exploring the possibility of setting up operations in Panama.
“They have approached the Superintendent to learn more about the system,” mentioned an official, adding that they have received 16 applications this year from banks from diverse nationalities interested in operating in the Panamanian market.