Panama’s leaders were defiant after the Panama Papers scandal broke open April 3 via hundreds of news stories circling the globe.
President Juan Carlos Varela’s chief of staff, Álvaro Alemán, called the disclosures about suspect dealings inside the country’s offshore financial industry a “campaign against Panama.”
“We will not allow Panama to be used as a scapegoat,” Alemán told a news conference.
Some of Panama’s anger was focused on the OECD, a Paris-based, multinational coalition that has been a key protagonist in the war over cross-border tax evasion. On April 4, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s secretary general, Angel Gurría, called out Panama as a “holdout” amid the world’s progress toward financial transparency.