SCOTLAND is being promoted alongside Panama as a tax haven.

This country for some years has been used as a fiscal paradise by Eastern Europeans and others thanks to a lax century-old company law.

But even as revelations of industrial scale tax avoidance emerge from the Panama Leaks, Scotland is being marketed right alongside the Central American republic.

As recently as this week advertorials were published on Russian news sites listing Scotland, Panama and Belize in the same breath as "offshore zones".

President Vladimir Putin's government has been campaigning for the "de-offshorification" of money hidden away by rich Russians using offshore companies, including highly controversial Scottish limited partnerships.

However, he has been dragged in to the Panama Leaks controversy after it emerged the godfather of his daughter had used accounts in the country.

Scottish Greens candidate and tax campaigner Andy Wightman said: "These revelations should remind us that secrecy and lack of transparency in corporate and tax affairs know no geographical boundaries.

"While places like Panama and the Cayman are often singled out for attention, there are frequently aspects of our own affairs that have been neglected for too long and Scottish Limited Partnerships are a very obvious example."

The latest advertorials are for a company called Open Offshore which is currently offering a sale on Scottish limied partnerships for $1290, cheaper than the $1550 needed for a Panamanian firm, which are advertised alongside the Scottish ones.

Crucially, the SLPs are "tax free" and with "no requirement for accounting reports".

Other firms recommend opening a Panamanian firm and making it the shareholder in an SLP, therefore having no requirement to pay tax in the UK or Central America.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson earlier this year said he is "very open" to reviewing controversial SLPS or, as they are promoted across Eastern Europe as "Scottish zero-per-cent-tax companies" in the "Scottish offshore zone".

This is because - unlike English partnerships - an SLP does not have to provide financial reports or register for tax if it conducts its business overseas.

Until now, when challenged on limited partnerships, Scottish officials have simply stressed that company formation law was reserved to Westminster.

Last year SLPs - often registered in unglamorous housing schemes - were used as part of an alleged elaborate scam to loot $1bn from Moldovan banks.

Labour and the Greens have been campaigning for action on SLPs and it is understood senior police figures were concerned about Scotland's role in the Moldovan bank scandal.

A classic scheme sees an SLP set up with two shareholders or, strictly speaking, "members" which are themselves companies based in Panama and the British Virgin Islands, where corporation tax is zero per cent.

The resulting SLP carries the kudos of a "British" company and can open a bank account elsewhere, such as Cyprus or Latvia, but has no need to register for UK tax or provide full financial accounts in Scotland.

Kremlin-friendly media outlets have dismissed reports that the Russian president has benefited from offshore accounts as Western "Putinophobia".