Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

THE SANCTIONED PANAMANIAN WAKED ORGANIZATION SUES OFAC IN US DISTRICT COURT



Relatives and business associates of the indicted Panamanian money launderer, Nidal Waked, have brought a civil suit (Case No. 16-01730), in US District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking relief from the seventy-six OFAC SDN sanctions, imposed upon the Waked business organization, and its senior leadership. Abdul Mohamed Waked Fares, and Mohamed Abdo Waked Darwich are the lead plaintiffs. The Government has referred to their group as the 'Waked Money Laundering Organization," in the criminal indictment.

 The suit, which was brought against the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and John E Smith, OFACs Acting Director, in his official capacity, seeks access to the Government's records, for the purposes of a review of the sanctions, and potential delisting. It alleges that the "defendants have wrongfully denied the plaintiffs adequate access to the records, or to the details underlying their designations"*.

The plaintiffs' Counts allege:

(1) Violation of Procedural Due Process.
(2)  Violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

They are requesting a judicial determination that OFAC's conduct violates the plaintiffs' Due Process and statutory rights, and are demanding an unredacted copy of their administrative record, or similar document, to provide them with "adequate post-designation notice." Issues relating to the Court's rulings on the existence, or lack of it,  of Due Process rights of foreign individuals, and entities, not resident within the United States, will be central to the resolution of the case.

The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment early on, and the defendants have now filed an unopposed motion to stay their response to that motion, until the time for the filing of a response to the complaint has elapsed. A summary judgment motion can only be granted when the movant has established that there are no issues of fact, and he is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. It appears that there are a number of constitutional, as well as factual, issues, which may preclude a summary judgment at this early stage in the litigation.



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* Complaint at 2.


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