Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Extradition process begins for Waked

He faces charges in the United States.

Spanish version

Temas:

Deputy Director of the anti-narcotics police of Colombia, Ricardo Alarcón, said Thursday at a news conference in Bogota that that country's International Affairs Office is awaiting documentation to begin the extradition process of Nidal Waked. 

The papers will be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then the Supreme Court. Final approval must be given by President Juan Manuel Santos.

Waked was detained in Bogota Wednesday on a request made by the United States, which has charged him with bank fraud and money laundering.

Meanwhile, lawyer Guillermina McDonald, who represents his uncle, Abdul Waked, reported that she will attend a meeting at the Public Ministry Monday to discuss an inveestigation that has been opened into her client.

The lawyer said that Abdul Waked "is willing to collaborate with the investigation and to provide evidence that may be necessary in order to clarify any doubts." 

In a radio interview yesterday, Abdul Waked said: "I didn't know that there was an investigation against me until yesterday. Nobody ever asked us anything. Since 2009 I have not traveled to the United States. So far no one has approached me to ask me anything about our accounting or finances. There is nothing dirty or anything. My books are open."

He also admitted that he has no visa to enter the United States.

VARELA SPEAKS

President Juan Carlos Varela said in a statement that he has ordered Minister of Economy and Finance Dulcidio De La Guardia to work with US officials to "protect the jobs of Panamanians affected" by the investigation into the Waked Group, which has 1,500 employees.

"We have already initiated direct consultations and I have applied for continuous reports on the progress of the same," he added.

Panamanian Association of Business Executives President Moravia Guerrero, described the actions taken by the U.S. Treasury Department against the Waked family businesses as "serious," since eventually some will close as a result of the legal actions.

He added that these accusations "damage the image of the country" and that Panama should make an effort to send a clear message about its decision to fight against drug trafficking, money laundering and set clear transparency policies.

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