Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has slammed the singling out of his country for the various tax dodging schemes revealed in the massive data breach known as the Panama Papers.
"Panama does not deserve to be singled out on an issue that plagues many countries," Varela writes in an editorial published Monday in the New York Times, adding that "the problem of tax evasion is a global one."
Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, along with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, revealed the thousands of offshore tax havens in which politicians, sports stars and celebrities from more than 80 countries hid their money.
The leaked information, amounting to millions of documents, came from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which set up the many shell companies.
"Despite their name, the Panama Papers are not mainly about Panama. They are not even primarily concerned with Panamanian companies," Varela writes.
"But we are willing to accept the responsibility for fixing it ... The world must tackle this problem collectively and with urgency, and Panama stands ready to lead the way."