PANAMA: BANKING AND FINANCES

Background

Law 42 of 2000 established the measures for preventing the money laundering crime and establishes the obligations applicable to the banks and trust companies to maintain due diligence and care in their operations to avoid that through this manner operations are executed with unlawful funds.

Meanwhile, the Superintendence of Banks (hereinafter the SB) as supervision and control entity issued the Agreement 12 of 2005, nevertheless by means of Resolution SBP-GJD-0004-2014 established certain criteria of interpretation regarding Article 4 of the mentioned Agreement.

What is considered a suitable identity document?
RELEVANT ISSUES
  • If it is a person of Panamanian nationality, it is the personal identity certificate or the official request form of the personal identity certificate in process. The passport is also acceptable when dealing with a person of Panamanian nationality resident abroad.
  • If it is a foreigner, the Passport is conceived as the suitable identity document. In case of a foreigner that had obtained the residence document in our country, it may be identified by means of the personal identity certificate issued by the Electoral Court of Panama (documents in force).
  • Regarding the expired personal identity certificates, there is a new modality because the Board of Directors of the Superintendence of Banks interprets that in these cases the bank may update their respective files by means of the verification of the database of the Electoral Court system without it being necessary to request the client the presentation of the physical document. Nevertheless, the latter is not applicable to the cases of expired passports.
  • Every person that is in the country under an immigration category of permanent resident in the capacity of refugee or asylee may be identified by the bank by means of the respective card issued by the National Immigration Service.
Recommendations regarding the references of the client, titleholders and signatories
  • The recommendations or references of each one of the titleholders shall be fulfilled with one (1) bank reference. Nevertheless, a single reference is enough, if it is referred by an entity of the same banking group that is part of the same entity.
  • If the client could not obtain a bank reference, it may fulfill the requirement with a personal or business reference provided by companies, providers, rating or information agencies i.e. the Panamanian Credit Association.
  • The bank may obtain said information through the forms used for the account opening. However, if the references may not be verified, the bank must demand the client to submit the same to be on its file. If dealing with persons in the capacity of refugees, the requirement of obtaining the recommendations or references may be verified by the obtainment of a letter or resolution issued by the Office for the Assistance of Refugees of the Ministry of Government where the background of the persons are evidenced.
Records of Passport

To comply with the requirement of Passport pursuant to Agreement 12 of 2005, it is only necessary to keep the copy of the page(s) where the photograph, signature and particulars of the client appears and of the page where the entry seal to the country is stamped. For updating purposes, only copy of the page(s) where the photograph, signature and particulars of the client appears shall be required.

In the event that the client had been captured through visits abroad or through promoters of entities affiliated to the group or that the connection be made through banks with international license, it shall not be required the page where the entry seal to the country is evidenced. Said clients may also be identified by means of the official identity document of their country of origin.

Certifications which evidence the incorporation and validity
  • Copy of the Charter of Incorporation or its equivalent shall be required in the case of a foreign juridical person.
  • In the case of a Panamanian juridical person, the Certificate of Good standing of the Public Registry is required, in original or copy, or information obtained by the client or the own bank through the database of the mentioned entity. In case of being a foreign company, similarly it must submit equivalent documents which evidence the incorporation and validity of the foreign juridical person.
Identification of the Ultimate Beneficial Owner
  • In the case of corporations, the Banks must carry out the pertinent formalities to identify the shareholders which have a percentage equal to or higher than ten (10) percent of the issued shares of the respective corporation, except for those whose shares are listed in the stock exchange, the public companies and the banks.
  • Private Interest Foundations, non-profit organizations and others whose beneficial owners may not be identified by means of the shareholding interest, the bank must ensure to obtain: (i) minutes; (ii) certification; (iii) affidavit duly subscribed by the representatives or authorized persons, where the beneficial owner or owners with a percentage equal to or greater than ten percent (10%) are detailed.
  • In the case of a Trust, the bank shall ensure to identify the Settlor and if the latter is a juridical person, the provisions set forth in previous paragraphs shall be applicable.
Identification of Officers, Directors, Attorneys-in-Fact and Legal Representatives
  • It shall be understood that for the identification of the officers, directors, attorneys-in-fact and legal representatives, the copy of the personal identity document shall be required from the President or Legal Representative, as the case may be, to the secretary, to the persons appointed as signatories and legal attorneys-in-fact. In the case of foreign juridical persons, what is applicable shall be required. The bank must leave evidence of all these information in their forms.
Financial Profile
  • It is understood as financial profile, the transaction profile or expected activity and it may be sustained with any of the following documents:
  • Work letter, Social Security Stub, Payment Receipt, Audited Financial Statements or Income Tax Return, information provided by the client in the account opening forms;
  • Any other legal or contractual information which evidences the income flow of the client.
Source and Origin of the Resources

It is understood that the source and origin of the resources refer to the written basis of the account opening form regarding the origin of the first deposit made in the account. The bank may request more evidence in case that it has reasonable motives to believe that the information provided by the client is doubtful or contradictory, in whose case it is empowered to ask for evidence.

Everything which has been developed in the interpretative Resolution of the Superintendence of Banks is applicable to the trust companies in the due diligence procedure.

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