Solidaridad denies tax avoidance in Panama

Dutch-based not-for-profit agency Solidaridad released a statement on 9 April to deny it set up a legal entity in Panama for tax avoidance. International news has recently been dominated by the release of the “Panama Papers”, which reveal the creation of more than 200,000 offshore companies by law firms in Panama for the purpose of tax avoidance, non-transparent, or even illegal operations. Solidaridad is headed by Nico Roozen, best known for launching Max Havelaar, the first Fairtrade certification initiative in 1988 in The Netherlands. Roozen current not-for-profit Solidaridad does have a legal entity in Panama, however in its statement Solidaridad said it established a Latin American continental office in Panama because it was “in line with our vision on Southern ownership”. The agency said it chose Panama because of its relatively stable currency, trading in US dollars, to prevent losses from currency fluctuations. “Establishing a legal entity in Panama is relatively cost effective. We aspire to spend a maximum share of Solidaridad funds on our mission,” the agency said in a statement. “A mission which is in sharp contrast with the activities of companies and wealthy people trying to avoid taxes, working with illicit finances and conducting money laundering through the creation of offshore companies. These are activities that Solidaridad does not want to be associated with in any way.”

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