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Italian legislators approve tax treaty

The Italian Parliament approved Tuesday a double taxation treaty that was signed with Panama at the beginning of 2010 and which had been ratified by the Panamanian National Assembly in December of that same year.

The treaty will go to the senate for final approval.

"We are particularly proud to approve this agreement with Panama because it helps us to better combat tax evasion," said legislator Fabio Porta.

Porta said the ratification process had been delayed due to difficulties in diplomatic relations between the two countries, something that he said is not uncommon.

"Unfortunately, these agreements do not always reach parliament in a timely manner," he said, noting that deals from as far back as 2009 are still waiting approval.

The treaty became a priority due to the publication of information about alleged cases of tax evasion contained within the files of the law firm Mossack Fonseca. Those files were made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

"There has been a prioritization in the discussion related to the revelations concerning Mossack Fonseca," the legislator said.

The data included the former president of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, and former Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, who is serving a prison sentence for his ties to the mafia. 

Panama ambassador to Italy Fernando Berguido stated that the signing of the treaty represents an example of the "cooperation between the two countries in the fight against crime."

He added that the treaty is an example "of the commitments made by this administration to adopt new standards of transparency."

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