SOME 15 shops have closed since May 5 in Panama’s high end Soho Mall, ollowing US against its owners, the Waked family.
The United States Department of the Treasury, through its Bureau of Foreign Assets (OFAC) put Westline Enterprises Inc (project owner) on the Clinton List, along with 66 corporations linked to Abdul and his nephew Nidal Waked, accused of laundering drug money
The nephew is in jail in Bogota awaiting deportation to Florida where a prosecutor in calling for a 50 year jail term.
Meanwhile Panama’s Chamber of Commerce is calling on US authorities to grant operating licenses to the stores.
The store closings were confirmed by Dominico Ferrante during an event at the Chamber
Ferrante, the spokesman for a group of 80 stores that have invested $60 million in the project, said that “it is a delicate situation.”
He said the stores are not receiving merchandise.
“The national government together with the ambassador of the United States must do something immediately to solve what is happening,” he added
The businessman said that two meetings with the Ministry of Economy and Finance on this topic have been cancelled.
Chamber President Jorge García Icaza urged the national government and the US embassy to issue a license to allow stores in the mall to engage in business with US entities.
“There are 80 store owners who have no responsibility for what happened,” he said.
The former Waked flagship is in trust with creditor banks until it is sold.
The Felix B. Maduro store chain is also in trust awaiting a buyer.