January 23, 2017

Reuters: Western Union Co, the world's biggest money-transfer company, agreed to pay $586 million and admitted to turning a blind eye as criminals used its service for money laundering and fraud, U.S. authorities said on Thursday.

Western Union, which has over half a million locations in more than 200 countries, admitted "to aiding and abetting wire fraud" by allowing scammers to process transactions, even when the company realized its agents were helping scammers avoid detection, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission said in statements.

With the help of Western Union agents, Chinese immigrants used the service to send hundreds of millions of dollars to pay human smugglers, wiring the money in smaller increments to avoid federal reporting requirements, U.S. authorities said. SOURCE


January 22, 2017

Bloomberg: Moody’s Corp. agreed to pay almost $864 million to resolve a multiyear U.S. investigation into credit ratings on subprime mortgage securities, helping to clear the way for the firm to move beyond its crisis-era litigation. Moody’s reached the agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and 21 states, which accused the company of inflating ratings on mortgage securities that were at the center of the 2008 financial crisis, the Justice Department said Friday in a statement. That penalty is about a third of the $2.5 billion that Moody’s earned in the four years leading up to the crisis. Standard and Poor’s, after fighting the U.S. in court for two years, settled similar claims with the U.S. for $1.5 billion last year. While Moody’s failed to abide by its own standards in rating some securities according to the government, it said the settlement doesn’t contain a finding it violated the law or any admission of liability. SOURCE


January 14, 2017

Last month the Government in Panama officially approved Law Number 52; legislation which creates the regulatory framework for the implementation regarding automatically exchanging tax information, in a further attempt to comply with global regulations for tax transparency, and to be fully in line with all supervisory and compliance matters.
Panama have also signed the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which allows for the effective exchange of tax information between member jurisdictions. This in turn will increase transparency and therefore help to combat global tax evasion, as well as reaffirm Panamas commitment to the cause. The Government has revealed that the first exchange will take place in 2018.

Law 52 2016 defines the term “legal entity” as any corporation, Limited Liability Company or any other type of entity used for commercial purposes, including private interest foundations. It requires resident agents and service providers to uphold information on where all company records of are being held and details of the individual holding them.
Furthermore, legal entities must maintain their accounting records and supporting documentation for no less than five years from the end of the calendar year within which the transaction took place or the last day after the legal entity ceased operations.
New sanctions applicable to legal entities
Additionally, Law 52 amends Article 318A of the Panamanian Fiscal Code to permit the Public Registry to begin enforcing the new legislation on all companies that are not compliant with the yearly payment of franchise tax.
As per Law 52, The Panamanian Public Registry will remove all corporate rights of legal entities that:
•Have not designated a local agent for over 90 days after the removal, resignation, or termination of the previous agent.
•Do not pay annual license fees for a period of three consecutive years.
•Do not pay any fine or penalty that arises as a result of non-payment of annual license fees.
Once the removal has been registered, a liquidation period of 2 years will begin. Once the 2 years have concluded without reinstating, the Registry will officially strike the legal entity off the Registrar.
As per Law number 47, in the event that a Shareholder of issued bearer shares does not submit the official certificate of bearer shares prior to this law, the shares will be annulled accordingly. SOURCE

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