Panama president pledges new beginning in corruption fight

Panama City (AFP)

Panama’s new president Laurentino Cortizo took office on Monday faced with the task of sprucing up his corruption-tainted country’s image and reviving a floundering economy.

Cortizo was sworn in at a ceremony attended by Latin American leaders and Spain’s King Felipe VI at a Panama City convention center overlooking the Pacific.

A 66-year old Social Democrat, Cortizo narrowly won the May 5 presidential election against right-wing candidate Romulo Roux.

Cortizo used his inauguration speech to announce he would later this month create a special unit to “coordinate all actions to remove Panama from, and keep it off” corruption and money-laundering watchlists.

He also pledged to “consolidate us as the best business, services and logistics center in Latin America.”

“This is a new beginning, to rescue Panama,” he said.

“Our country has been disrespected and mistreated so far, until now, until today.”

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — an international body that fights

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