[PANAMA CITY] The Panama Papers revealing offshore secrets of the wealthy is really the result of a behind-the-scenes fight of big global powers, Panama's president said on Monday.
"It looks like internal politics and differences between the big powers is playing a role in how these issues are being handled," President Juan Carlos Varela said.
"What I don't think is good is that big powers that want to fight are using Panama as a territory for that fight," he said.
"If they want to fight they should do so in their own countries, and not use our financial and fiscal system."
Mr Varela's comments came just ahead of the release online of a database drawn from the Panama Papers - a massive digital trove of documents copied from the servers of a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in offshore business.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a US-based outfit that networks investigative reporters around the world, was making public data from a portion of the 11.5 million Mossack Fonseca documents.
Since news reports on the Panama Papers emerged in early April, Mr Varela and his government have been arguing that the tax-avoidance and money-laundering issues they raised were a global problem, and not just Panama's.
"We are ready for whatever is published," Mr Varela said.
"The issue of these famous papers is a subject about the world financial system. It is not a Panama problem - it is a world problem," he said.
- For more coverage of the Panama Papers, visit bt.sg/panama_papers