Panama signs international tax convention, OECD says

PARIS, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Panama signed on Thursday a multilateral convention to share foreign taxpayers’ details with other governments, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said, marking a big step towards ending its status as an offshore tax haven.

Panama’s role as a major offshore tax haven came into the public spotlight earlier this year when thousands of documents were leaked showing how a Panamanian law firm had helped the rich and powerful around the world evade taxes.

“Panama’s decision to sign the multilateral convention is a confirmation of its commitment to take the necessary steps to meet international expectations in the fight against tax evasion,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said in a statement.

The OECD’s head of tax policy told Reuters on Wednesday the negative publicity and threat of being blacklisted internationally as an uncooperative tax haven had spurred Panama to clean up its act. (Reporting by Michel Rose, editing by Astrid Wendlandt)