Department store survives laundering crisis

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THE JOBS of over 1,000 employees of the 139 year-old Panama department store Felix B. Maduro, have been saved after Waked family  shareholders, accepted the terms and conditions offered in a deal between  the Government   and the US  Treasury Department to  ensure the continuity of the company.

Following the agreement reached Friday, June 3,  President Juan Carlos Varela  said that the commission to facilitate discussions between the shareholders of Felix B. Maduro and US Treasury Department have managed to make possible the continuity of  operations of the department store and the protection of more than 1,000 jobs. “our goal from day one.”

The US Bureau of Foreign Assets (OFAC) , had imposed a series of measures to facilitate the termination of the business relationship of Abdul Waked and Wisa Group with Felix B. Maduro, Importadora Maduro Maduro and International (Felix Maduro Group).

The solution involves the creation of a trust and the transfer to the trust  the properties of the Felix Maduro Group of companies
OFAC also extended on Friday  an operating license to the newspapers El Siglo and La Estrella de Panama until 6 January 2017.

The license was due to expire July 6.

(OFAC, had  identified  Abdul and Nidal Waked as the ringleaders of The Waked Money Laundering Organization, on suspicion of money laundering and drug trafficking.

On Friday the US ambassador in Panama, John Feeley, reported that Mawa Enterprises Corp., a company with operations in the Colon Free Zone, had been  removed  from the Clinton List
Mawa Enterprises Corp. and 67 other companies, as well as seven Waked were included on the list.
Feeley said: “They have totally and legally separated links they had with the  Waked, family, therefore, US officials acknowledge that they have no problem in having access to financial banking system of the United States,”.


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