April 25, 2016 / 6:05 PM / 4 years ago

Panama's finance minister faces French counterpart in Paris over tax spat

Panama's Minister of Economy Dulcidio de la Guardia (Front) poses before a meeting with French Finance Minister Michel Sapin (C rear) at the Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, France, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - Panama’s finance minister faced demands from his French counterpart in Paris on Monday for “total transparency” following a diplomatic standoff triggered by a data leak at a Panamanian law firm specializing in setting up offshore firms.

The French and Panama presidents agreed this month that the two should meet in the wake of the revelations after France threatened to put Panama on its tax haven blacklist. Panama had warned that it might retaliate.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in a statement on Monday that he had told Finance Minister Dulcidio de la Guardia that Panama must share any information requested by the French government, including about offshore shell companies.

He said France would also seek to revise a 2011 bilateral tax convention - one of the few Panama has with other countries - to lift any legal obstacles to sharing tax information.

De la Guardia had indicated Panama intended to make progress on tax transparency but gave no details, the statement said.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Louise Ireland

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