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Panama to create independent commission in response to Panama Papers leak

Juan Carlos Varela, the president of Panama, said his governmentwill form an autonomous commission to examine the nation's financial practices andrecommend measures to boost the transparency of financial and legal systems, Reutersreported April 7.

His statement follows the leak of more than 11.5 million documents from Panama-basedlaw firm Mossack Fonseca in a case that has been dubbed the "Panama Papers."The leak, which details the alleged use of tax havens, has had ramifications acrossthe globe, including the recent resignationof Iceland's prime minister.

Panama is still deciding the members who will form the commission.Gian Castillero, a senior adviser to the government, said he expects the body toreport its findings within six months, the newswire reported.

Following the leak, the government of France said it would placePanama back on its list of "uncooperative countries," while the OECD urgedthe Central American country to align itself with international tax transparencystandards.

"Panama is the last major holdout that continues to allowfunds to be hidden offshore from tax and law enforcement authorities," BNamericasquoted OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría as saying.

In February, the Financial Action Task Force Panama from its grey list of countriesthat have deficient anti-money laundering norms. Panama was added to the list in2014.