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Colombia arrests big Panama drug-money suspect

07 May 2016, 13:55

Bogota - Colombian police arrested one of the heads of a prominent Panama business family listed by the United States as a major launderer of drug money, officials said on Friday.

Officers detained Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatum, 36, at Bogota airport after he arrived there on Wednesday, police chiefs told a news conference on Friday.

The state prosecution service said in a statement on Thursday it had signed a warrant to capture and extradite him to the United States.

It said Waked Hatum, who is a national of Spain, Colombia and Panama, is wanted by a court in Florida for alleged fraud and money-laundering.

The Waked family run a large luxury goods, duty-free shop and real estate business.

The United States blacklisted them as a major drug money-laundering organisation on Thursday.

It put top members of the family and their businesses, including the Grupo Wisa and La Riviera luxury goods groups, the Balboa Bank and Trust, and two top newspapers, on a sanctions blacklist.

The US Treasury named Waked Hatum and Abdul Mohamed Waked Fares, 66, as co-leaders of the "Waked Money Laundering Organisation".

The move locks them out of doing business with Americans and freezes their US assets.



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