USA Denounces Money Laundering Network in Panama

A list of people and companies involved in international money laundering includes brothers Abdul and Nidal Waked, another 6 individuals, and 68 companies, among which is Balboa Bank.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The businessmen Abdul and Nidal Waked and companies such as Grupo Wisa, Vida Panama and Balboa Bank, have been included in the "Clinton" list which indicates which people and related organizations are linked to money laundering and drug trafficking activities.

The Superintendency of Banks in Panama, has already ordered the seizure of administrative and operational control of BALBOA BANK & TRUST CORP., and the Superintendency of Securities of the Stock Market has ordered intervention of BALBOA SECURITIES CORP.

From a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC):

Action Exposes Extensive Drug Money Laundering Network Based in Panama

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Waked Money Laundering Organization (Waked MLO) and its leaders, Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatum (Waked Hatum) and Abdul Mohamed Waked Fares (Waked Fares), as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). OFAC also targeted six Waked MLO associates and 68 companies tied to the drug money laundering network, including Grupo Wisa, S.A., Vida Panama (Zona Libre) S.A., and Balboa Bank & Trust. Panamanian-Colombian-Spanish national Waked Hatum and Panamanian-Lebanese-Colombian national Waked Fares co-lead the Waked MLO, which uses trade-based money laundering schemes, such as false commercial invoicing; bulk cash smuggling; and other money laundering methods, to launder drug proceeds on behalf of multiple international drug traffickers and their organizations. As a result of today’s action, all assets of these individuals and entities that are under the jurisdiction of the United States or in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

See Waked money laundering organization organogram

See full press release

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Panama: Interventions in Balboa Bank and Balboa Securities

May 2016

As a result of the inclusion of both companies in the "Clinton" list drawn up by the US Treasury Department, the respective Superintendents have ordered interventions.

For its part the Administration of Supervision and Regulation of Non-Financial Subjects activated special supervisions in non-financial companies which are listed by the OFAC as part of the network, in this case those operating in Colon Free Zone: Grupo Wisa, S.A., Vida Panama S.A., Servicio de Equipo Rodante Incorporado and Grupo Cima S.A., among others.