Panamanian newspaper La Prensa last week reported that Grupo Wisa duty free operator Abdul Waked, who was accused of activities related to money laundering and drug trafficking by the United States in May, has filed a lawsuit against the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
La Prensa said that the suit was confirmed Sept. 12 by U.S. Ambassador to Panama John Feeley, who said that the suit was presented by Waked’s lawyers in Washington.
The OFAC charges against Abdul Waked, his son Hamudi and his nephew Nidal Waked, allege that Waked and 68 of his related companies use trade-based money laundering schemes, such as false commercial invoicing; bulk cash smuggling; and other money laundering methods, to launder drug proceeds on behalf of multiple international drug traffickers and their organizations.
Abdul Waked has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. government has not shown any evidence against him as he emphatically denies the allegations.
An article that ran on Aug. 31 in Panama’s La Estrella newspaper reported that Mr. Waked’s attorney, David Aufhauser, had filed a civil action before the Federal Court of the District of Columbia to petition OFAC to disclose the evidence against his client. The 11-page petition reportedly argues that failure to disclose the evidence violates the rights of the plaintiffs, due process, and his opportunity to challenge, among other arguments.
La Estrella said that an earlier appeal filed by Aufhauser to the Treasury Department was rejected. Since the OFAC accusations in May Waked’s businesses have ground to a halt. U.S. companies cannot have any relationship with people or companies on this list.