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Regional Conference on Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Panama

27 September 2023

The “Beneficial Ownership Transparency Regional Conference” kicked off in Panama on September 27, 2023 with participants from Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Panama.

“We have a fully operational Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) Registry, accessible to competent authorities, covering over 80% of legal entities registered in the Public Registry of Panama,” stated Héctor Alexander, Minister of Economy and Finance, during the inauguration of the conference on “Implementation and Management of the Unique Beneficial Owner Registry, Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Panama.”

The first regional event organised by the EU Global Facility on this topic for both Latin America and Caribbean countries, it seeks to foster collaboration and insights for effective management of Beneficial Ownership Registration systems. According to the minister, this regional conference will demonstrate that Panama is heading in the right direction, and they will continue to take actions to enhance the country’s transparency, as emphasised by the head of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

Alexander recounted how, in June 2019, Panama committed at the highest level to undertake concrete and sustainable actions with the goal of “strengthening the prevention system, including the effective implementation of a legal framework that not only complies with international standards but also maintains Panama’s competitiveness in the international services we offer.” The process involved the modification and implementation of new measures to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing, ensuring full compliance with international standards.

Regarding the creation of Panama’s Unique Beneficial Owner Registry, Alexander highlighted that it was an initiative aimed at strengthening both national and international transparency and cooperation.

Isabel Vecchio, the Technical Secretary of the National Commission against Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing, and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (CNBC), reiterated that Panama possesses a robust registry “that has allowed us to strengthen our system for preventing money laundering and combating terrorist financing.”

Speaking on behalf of the European Union Delegation to Panama, Political Counsellor Adolfo Campos, underlined that the countries should take measures to prevent the misuse of legal persons and other legal structures for money laundering or terrorist financing. “Countries should ensure that relevant, accurate and up-to-date information is available on the final beneficiary, to which competent authorities, including law enforcement bodies and financial intelligence units, can access quickly and efficiently, through a beneficial ownership register or an equivalent mechanism,” he stated, adding that “beneficial ownership registration systems ultimately help to achieve a fairer, safer and more prosperous world”.

Dayra Carrizo, who leads the Superintendence of Non-Financial Subjects, also delivered welcoming remarks.