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Panama's Multibank Hopes to Open Subsidiary in Cuba
Multibank, third bank in Panama in assets, could open an office in Cuba as part the counrty's promotion aimed at attracting foreign investment.

"We see great opportunities in that country that will develop rapidly and Multibank would like to be hand in hand with that development, both to support the Cuban financial institutions and the businesspeople who pretend to invest there," told Prensa Latina the executive president of the bank, Isaac Btesh.

At this moment, that financial entity is the only one in the isthmus to have correspondence with Cuban entities, as part of the support to trade transactions made by companies radicated in Panama, mainly at the Colon Duty-Free Zone.

On the technical elements of those transactions, Btesh clarified they do not violate established regulations by the United States, nation whose laws prevent Cuba from using the dollar for charges or payments, but in the case of Panama, movements are made in Balboas (local currency) which has a parity with the US dollar.

This situation allows to make commercial operations without violating regulations of the U.S. Treasury that sanctions movements of its currency linked to the Caribbean island made by any bank, regardless of its nationality.

A distinctive seal of Multibank is the thoroughness of its actions to admit new clients or to be aware of the financial movements of them, which allowed it the category of Degree of International Investment, given to it in 2014 by qualifier JFitch Ratings.

About the dark stage still living the local financial system, Btesh predicted that Panamá, as in all cycles, should exit the gray list of the Group of International Financial Action (Gafi in Spanish) and start a process of recondition, in which will be as always, good and bad moments.

At present, the country awaits a revision of the Gafi on the application of rigorous banking control policies and the implementation of important changes in transparency of commercial and financial transactions, among them the elimination of offshore enterprises with actions to the bearer.

This last modality did not allow to know the destiny or origin of the financial flows nor the owners of these. We are also working in the regulation of all those non-financial activities which could hide money laundering.

Contradictorily, the Panamanian banking system exited stronger from the economic crisis of 2008 and Btesh explains the phenomenon from the absence of a central bank, which forces to be very strict with liquidity and to not invest in instruments like those that hurt several entities of this sector over the world. / By Osvaldo Rodriguez Martinez - PL.

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