April 23, 1979 • 2014 • Panama-State • 2970

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979PANAMA02970_e.html.]

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PANAMA 02970 232022Z
ACTION L-03
INFO OCT-01 ARA-11 ADS-00 JUSE-00 TRSE-00 EB-08 /023 W
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R 232014Z APR 79
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2092
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DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO JUSTICE, CRIMINAL DIVISION, FOR JOHN HARRIS AND TREASURY, INTERNATIONAL TAX COUNSEL, FOR STANLEY LANGBEIN

EO 12065: N/A
TAGS: EFIN, CGEN, PN
SUBJECT: JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE TREATY

1. THE EMBASSY HAS TAKEN SOUNDINGS WITH RANKING GOP OFFICIALS TO ASCERTAIN THEIR REACTIONS TO PRESENTATIONS BY JOHN HARRIS (JUSTICE) AND STANLEY LANGBEIN (TREASURY) ON PROS AND CONS OF A US-PANAMANIAN JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE TREATY. MARIO DE DIEGO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PANAMANIAN BANKING COMMISSION, SAYS THAT HE WAS FAVORABLY IMPRESSED BY THE PRESENTATION AND HAS RECOMMENDED THAT, ON BANKING GROUNDS, PANAMA ENTER NEGOTIATIONS. HIS VIEW WAS SUPPORTED BY THE LEGAL ADVISOR OF THE PANAMANIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN RELATIONS AND THE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL. HE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT THE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL ANTICIPATES SOME DIFFICULTIES IN RECONCILING PANAMANIAN AND US JUDICIAL PROCEDURES.

2. DE DIEGO SAID THE PANAMANIAN TAX SERVICE WILL BE CRITICAL. AS FERNANDO ARAMBARU, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF TAXATION, IS OUT OF THE COUNTRY UNTIL MAY, WE SPOKE TO VICE MINISTER OF TREASURY GOODIN WHO SEES ADVANTAGES

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TO PANAMA IN THE EXCHANGE OF TAX INFORMATION AND SAYS HE WILL FOLLOW UP DURING THE SECOND HALF OF MAY. (GOODIN LEAVES PANAMA FOR EUROPE BEFORE ARAMBARU RETURNS, AND DOES NOT RETURN TO PANAMA UNTIL MID-MAY). WE HAVE ALSO TALKED TO MINISTER OF PLANNING AND ECONOMY GONZALES, WHO IS CHAIRMAN OF THE PANAMANIAN BANKING COMMISSION. GONZALES HAS NOT HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRIEF HIMSELF ON THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE TREATY BUT FINDS IT CONCEPTUALLY DESIRABLE IN LIGHT OF THE DIFFICULTIES PANAMA EXPERIENCED WITH OUR REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE IN THE PEOPLES TEMPLE ACCOUNTS LAST DECEMBER.

3. THE VICE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, WHO IS CHAIRING A WORKING GROUP TO DEVELOP A POSITION ON POSSIBLE JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE TREATY NEGOTIATIONS, TAKES A MORE PESSIMISTIC VIEW. A LAWYER BY TRAINING, HE SAYS THE DIFFICULTIES IN RECONCILING US-PANAMANIAN JUDICIAL PRACTICES WILL PROVE INTRACTABLE. WE HAVE ARRANGED WITH HIM THAT, BEFORE PANAMA TAKES A DEFINITIVE POSITION AGAINST THE TREATY, IT WILL PRESENT ITS RESERVATIONS AND DIFFICULTIES TO US FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION AND EXPLANATION.

4. COMMENT: AT THIS POINT, WE WOULD HESITATE TO GUESS HOW PANAMA WILL DECIDE ON NEGOTIATIONS ON A JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE TREATY. OUR TENTATIVE IMPRESSION IS THAT THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS MAY WANT TO PLAY THIS MATTER CLOSELY, IN PART, BECAUSE IT RECOGNIZES THE TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES IN ARRIVING AT AN AGREEMENT AND, IN PART, BECAUSE IT MAY LINK POSSIBLE NEGOTIATIONS TO SOME OF THE OTHER ISSUES UNDER DISCUSSION BETWEEN PANAMA AND THE UNITED STATES WHICH ARE OF GREATER INTEREST TO PANAMA. END COMMENT.

MOSS

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Originally posted on October 23rd, 2020.

Last modified on November 15th, 2020.
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