Nidal Waked pleads guilty to laundering

2,882Views 2Comments Posted 19/10/2017

PANAMA businessman Nidal Waked Hatum, a prominent player in the Waked family conglomerate, on the Clinton list as a drug smuggling and money laundering organization, has pleaded guilty to money laundering  and dodged a prosecution call for a 50-year sentence.

Waked was  arrested in May 2016 in Bogota (Colombia) and extradited last January to Miami.

The agreement was initialed on  Thursday, October 19, by Waked, his lawyers and Miami prosecutors Frank H. Tamen and Walter Norkin.

The document was presented to Federal Court Judge Robert Scola of the Southern District of Florida, at a hearing held in the early afternoon of Thursday Oct. 19.

The ruling has not yet been determined by Judge Scola, although the agreement states that the accused acknowledges that the judge can impose a sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment, followed by a supervised period of probation of up to five years.

"In addition to a period of imprisonment and supervised release, the court may impose a fine of up to $ 250,000 or double the amount of criminally derived property involved in the transaction, "said the document.

Waked also agrees to deliver and identify any goods  a product of the wrongful act, inside and.

outside the United States and agree to waive his right to appeal the judgment determined by the judge.

The facts acknowledged by Waked would have occurred between the years 2000 and 2009, and include transactions between banks in Miami and Panama.

In the indictment submitted to the Court on March 24, 2015, prosecutors requested 50 years in prison for Waked: 20 for two counts of conspiracy to launder money and 30 for a charge of bank fraud. The "indictment" was sealed until May 5, 2016.

That day, Waked was detained at El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia, in an operation by the US  Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

[caption id="attachment_60915" align="alignleft" width="222"] Abdul Waked[/caption]

On the same day, the US Treasury Department includedWaked, his brothers, his uncle Abdul Waked and his companies on the Clinton List of activities linked to money laundering and drug trafficking.

Nidal Waked was detained at La Picota prison until  January when he was extradited to Miami. On January 25, he pleaded not guilty at a hearing before Judge Scola.

In Panama the Waked empire has crumbled with the forced sale of Soho Mall, the Felix B Maduro department stores. And the closure of airport duty-free operations. The future of the Waked -owned newspapers. La Estrella and El Siglo, is under a cloud as they remain on the Clinton List, which prohibits American citizens and corporations from dealing with them.