Panama has been taken off an international "gray list" of countries whose lax financial laws are seen as making money-laundering easier, its president, Juan Carlos Varela, said Thursday.
"I am pleased to announce that Panama has come off the FATF gray list thanks to the new era of transparency we are living," Varela said on his Twitter account.
The FATF is the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, a 32-nation body created nearly three decades ago to combat international money-laundering. Its remit was later expanded to also fight the financing of terrorist groups.
Panama, a thriving banking hub with simplified laws that actively encourage investment, has already enacted laws to counter perceptions that it was a tax haven.
However its was still listed by the FATF as having deficiencies in fighting money-laundering.
But a FATF meeting in Paris this week agreed to remove the country from its gray list after determining it now met the group's standards on information sharing, tax compliance and reporting suspicious transactions, a statement from the Panamanian finance ministry said.
Panama has notably passed a law against bearer shares -- equities owned by whoever physically holds the stock certificate, meaning the owner is not registered or identified. It has also created a state body to prevent money-laundering in free-tax zones, casinos, property, construction and currency-exchange shops.