Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

U.S. ambassador says case is strong against Waked

Ambassador John Feeley yesterday defended the decision to take action against the companies linked to the family.

That action has placed thousands of jobs at risk.

Spanish version

Temas:

U.S. Ambassador John Feeley held a press conference yesterday to justify the decision by the Treasury Department to place individuals and companies linked to the Waked family on a sanctions list.

"We have seen the evidence. We have confirmed that the Waked organization was involved in money laundering in several countries," the ambassador said.

In a statement read from his residence in La Cresta, Feeley said that "for years, Nidal Waked, Abdul Waked, and his accomplices abused the financial systems of the United States and Panama. Together they led an organization that has laundered money from drug trafficking."

He added that "these monies came from suitcases full of cash, falsification of invoices and other methods of money laundering favored by multiple international drug trafficking organizations, which are among the most unscrupulous and sophisticated in the world."

Feeley said that for these reasons the U.S. placed 68 companies linked to the Waked Group on the Clinton list, which is compiled by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). U.S. authorities have also opened a judicial process for money laundering.

Guillermina McDonald, the attorney Abdul Waked, responded that the U.S. should provide the evidence it says it has to authorities in Panama so it can be scrutinized.

Feeley also said that he realizes the impact the measures taken by the U.S. will have on the thousands of workers employed by the Wakeds.

"Innocent employees of the companies owned by the money launderers will have to pay for the broken dishes of the owners," he said.

He also said the U.S. government has taken measures to help with the transition for the employees by issuing temporary licenses for some of the companies, including La Estrella and El Siglo newspapers.

He said that this will provides the time needed for the government of Panama and the Wakeds "to find a solution that minimizes the possible harmful effects on the innocent."

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