Panama president visits Singapore following tax scandal

Singapore, April 22 (IANS) Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez began his Singapore state visit on Friday.

Later on Friday, the Panamanian head of state will meet Singaporean acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, before President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mary host an evening state banquet in his honour, Efe news reported.

Varela’s Singaporean sojourn follows his state visit to Japan earlier this week, during which Japanese President Shinzo Abe agreed to loan $2 billion to the Latin American country for a new monorail metro line using Japanese technology.

Varela on Wednesday thanked Japan for its “support and solidarity” following the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal, in which leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca linked more than 140 politicians, high-ranking officials and celebrities across the world to offshore tax havens.

Varela seeks to clean up his country’s image after the scandal as it is in the process of negotiating tax exchange information agreements with other countries to combat tax fraud.

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