Panama: Recent News And Development For Panama

There have been a number of new laws in Panama relating to corporate governance, money laundering and bearer shares. For Hatstone, there have been some new appointments and exciting news as we have been short-listed for Offshore Law Firm of the Year. Please read on and scroll down for more information....

CHANGES IN THE LAW

Corporate governance - Registry of Minutes and Shares

Pursuant to Law 22 of 27 April 2015, section 71 of the Code of Commerce has been amended. The new section of the Law now makes it clear that all Panamanian companies are required to maintain registers of minutes and shares.

Failure to comply with the new law will result in a $100 per day fine. If not remedied then a notice will be registered at the Public Registry preventing winding up and it will show as a record of default for good standing and sale purposes.

Money laundering – new law relating to know your client

Law 23 of April 27 2015 adopts new measures against money laundering, financing terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It applies, amongst others, to banks, fiduciary companies, financial companies, insurance companies and brokers, credit unions, lawyers, CPAs and real estate agents setting out new and additional requirements in relation to obtaining client due diligence information with regard to clients.

This law combined with the changes to bearer shares, as discussed below, promise to bring about a new era of transparency for Panama with the expectation that Panama shall be removed from the Financial Action Task Force's grey list later this year.

Company - Bearer shares

Law 18 of 23 April 2015 introduces modifications to Law 47 in relation to the immobilization of bearer shares. Law 47 was introduced in 2013 due to international pressure for Panama to improve its financial transparency. The new Law 18 modifies and reduces the deadlines for implementation of the regime relating to bearer shares.

The new law became effective on 4 May 2015 providing that all Panamanian companies must deposit their bearer shares with an authorized custodian by the new and much earlier date of 31 December 2015. If you do not deposit then the articles of incorporation will be deemed to be automatically amended so as to no longer permit the issuance of bearer shares and will affect the rights and powers of the holder in relation to the company.

For more information about bearer shares please click here.

AREA OF INTEREST

Immigration

Since the start of 2015, we have a noticed a significant increase in the number of persons enquiring about relocating to Panama, becoming tax resident in Panama and how to obtain a Friendly Nations Visa. For more information about visas and moving to Panama, please contact Marta Gordon-Owen

APPOINTMENTS

We are delighted to announce the appointments of:

Alvaro Almengor, Senior Associate - Corporate and Tax

Alvaro specializes in civil, commercial, employment and administrative law and Panamanian tax. He advises international clients with regard to cross border transactions and offshore structures and provides local Panamanian legal and tax advice to international and local businesses and high net worth families and individuals.

Pablo Hassan, Consultant – Employment

Pablo is a Panamanian lawyer with over 29 years' legal expertise and advises clients on all aspects of employment law, including contracts, employment benefits and staff handbooks.

As part of the expansion of Hatstone Abogados we have launched a department specializing in Construction Law to provide a unique service as our lawyers have both legal and construction experience.

Shelley Griffith, Consultant – Construction

Shelley is an English barrister and a chartered surveyor. He is a Royal Institute of Surveyors Chartered surveyor (MRICS) since 1990 and was called to the English bar in 1998.

Robert Cedeno, Consultant – Construction

Robert is a US and Commonwealth Caribbean attorney and civil engineer. Robert provides integrated legal and engineering services for project development, complex multiparty construction dispute resolution and proactive dispute avoidance on projects.

For an article relating to the taxation of construction projects in Panama written by Alvaro please click here

OTHER NEWS

Hatstone is recognized as a top 30 offshore law firm.

In 2015, Hatstone moved up from 19th place to 13th place in the Top 30 Offshore Law Firms published by The Lawyer. The Lawyer ranks the offshore firms by the number of qualified lawyers in their businesses.

Hatstone shortlisted for Offshore Law Firm of the Year award

The Lawyer Awards celebrate excellence across private practice, the public sector, commerce and industry, and the Bar. Now in their 21st year, the Awards have established themselves as the leading awards initiative within the legal industry. Hatstone Lawyers are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Offshore Law Firm of the Year Award.

Hatstone appoints a new Group Partner

Hatstone Lawyers are delighted to announce that Advocate Mike Preston has joined the firm as a Group Partner. Mike enhances the firm's existing litigation and dispute resolution team, and brings the number of partners to six and the total number of qualified lawyers in the firm to 31.

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