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The World

Most U.S. companies that have operations in Panama are ignoring President Reagan’s order to withhold taxes they owe the Central American government as a means of pressuring strongman Manuel A. Noriega to step down, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said. Reagan issued the order last April with the stipulation that the money be placed in a Treasury Department escrow account and turned over to Panama only after Gen. Noriega was out. However, Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-Conn.), said senior State Department officials told him that they estimate that the escrow account is $65-million short of what it should be at this point.


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