ABDUL WAKED, owner of La Estrella and El Siglo, has relinquished control of the papers to allow them to continue publishing.
Eduardo Quirós, president of GESE, the group that publishes the newspapers, announced on Monday, Oct 23, that The United States Department of the Treasury has accepted the proposal, after 17 months, of uncertainty since in May 2016, the US Treasury Department included Waked on the Clinton list prepared by the Office of Control of Foreign Property, against money laundering.
This solution, he said, “protects national dignity” and “corresponds to the immense support we have received from the Panamanian people” and many national and international organizations.
Waked has transferred to a new History Publishing Foundation free of charge as an irrevocable donation, 51% of the company that manages the publications. All the benefits of the foundation will be exclusively for the newspapers.
The Foundation board made up of Quirós, lawyer and ex-Ambassador Eloy Alfaro de Alba and former Vice-President and Ex-Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro, will be in charge of the administration of History Publishing.
“In these citizens we have found the disposition and the commitment to the defense of the freedom of expression and safeguard of the heritage that the newspapers mean for Panama, without any personal benefits, ” Quirós said.
In a press release, the United States Ambassador to Panama, John D. Feeley, congratulated “all parties involved in the successful joint effort to re-establish unrestricted access to the United States market and financial system for the Editorial Group.
As a result of the irrevocable transfer of 51 percent of the shares of Abdul Waked of Grupo Cedro Panamá, S.A. and Warner Lake Corp., to the Publishing History Foundation, newspapers are no longer being blocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury.
He added that previous bans restricting US citizens and companies from conducting financial transactions with the newspapers are no longer applicable.
“We applaud the efforts of Eduardo Quirós, President of GESE, for his relentless and courageous leadership to trace a viable path for these respected newspapers. We also commend the collaborators of GESE, for their perseverance and for maintaining their journalistic conviction in favor of Panama in difficult times “, said the statement.
“It was also known that from this moment, the Embassy of the United States in Panama expresses its intention to renew its subscriptions to the newspapers of the group GESE,” reported El Siglo.