PANAMA CITY Panama could retaliate after France announced it would put the Central American nation back on its blacklist of uncooperative tax jurisdictions, a top government official said on Tuesday, amid a major leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm.
Alvaro Aleman, chief of staff to President Juan Carlos Varela, told a news conference the government could respond with similar measures against France, or any other country that follows France's lead.
"In the case of France, or any other country that includes Panama on a grey list, the national government will have to analyse the situation and take a series of measures, which of course could include reciprocal measures," Aleman said.
"We are not going to allow Panama to be used as a scapegoat by third parties. Each country (implicated) is responsible, he added, saying the president had instructed the foreign ministry to contact all of the dozens of countries implicated.
He said Panama was ready to cooperate in any investigations stemming from the leaks, but stressed no Panamanian company has yet been found to have committed a crime.
Following a massive leak about clients of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, France's financial prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into aggravated tax fraud. Mossack Fonseca has denied any wrongdoing.
(Reporting by Enrique Andres Pretel; Writing by Alexandra Alper and Simon Gardner; Editing by Dave Graham and Grant McCool)
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