Spanish version

Colombia takes control of La Riviera

Temas:

The Superintendency of Companies of Colombia has taken control of La Riviera duty-free stores in that country, various media of the South American nation have reported.

The measure was taken by Andres Alfonso pariahs Garzón, the delegate for inspection, monitoring and control of this government entity.

"The measure was taken when two officials of the institution conducted an inspection of the stores on May 11 and 24, shortly after measure were imposed by the United States government on its parent company," said the newspaper El Tiempo.

The company said it submitted a request to "ensure transparency in operations in Colombia and provide protection to employees and creditors thereof, pursuant to the provisions of laws and regulations that govern the country."

La Riviera employs 1,271 people in Colombia, and has assets valued at approximately $130 million and liabilities of $45 million.

The company was one of 68 entities owned by Nidal and Abdul Waked that were included by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury on the Clinton list for activities related to money laundering and drug trafficking.

In Panama, U.S. Ambassador John 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."

Nidal Waked was arrested May 4 inn Bogotá and is awaiting extradition to the United States, where he will face charges of money laundering and bank fraud in Florida.

Initially Thursday, La Riviera announced that it would close its duty free shops in Colombia.

At the same time, media reports were made that 20 companies supplying banking services, security and products broke relations with La Riviera.

"The banks were the first to react. Davivienda, Bancolombia, CorpBanca and West Bank already notified them of the freezing of their accounts and some gave them a reasonable period of time to remove the balances," the media reported, adding that the company also had its legal representatives and accountants resign. It also said a number of suppliers cut ties to the company.

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