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Tax evasion not a crime in our country: Panamian Minister

"The Panama Papers as leaked out in the media are essentially stolen papers from a legal firm that operate across 22 countries"

Panama is not a tax haven and the government is willing to co-operate with India and provide information that New Delhi would ask for, visiting Panamanian Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation Maria Luisa Navarro said here on Monday.

“The Panama Papers as leaked out in the media are essentially stolen papers from a legal firm that operate across 22 countries,” she said during an interaction here.

“We are affected by the negative image,” she said, adding: “But we have tried to turn the difficult situation to an opportunity to tell the world about our position.”

She said her country has taken 16 legislative measures in the last two decades to make the financial services transparent.

Navarro, who will meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, however said tax evasion is “not a crime in our country as is a practice in many other countries”.

But she says citizens of Panama and foreign nationals who stay and do business there pay taxes up to 35 percent.

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