Monday, May 16, 2016


The Panama-based Waked Money Laundering Organization, which owned a large group of legitimate companies, and through them, engaged in criminal activities, was owned and led by a family of Lebanese origin, whose members maintain Lebanese, Colombian or Panamanian citizenship.

The individuals, who were indicted in US District Court, with money laundering and bank fraud, were also engaged in providing material support to a Specially Designated Terrorist organization, namely Hezbollah, and with terrorist financing, though they have not, as yet, been indicted on those charges. The Waked organization funneled millions of dollars annually, to Hezbollah, employing its diversified holdings of legitimate corporations, as well as shell companies, formed by their Panamanian attorneys, to disguise and move criminal profits, to Hezbollah in Beirut.

The terrorist financing activities of the Waked Organization were disapproved by other Panamanian organized crime syndicates, but  local law enforcement always failed to take any action against it. It is believed that the Waked family had such powerful influence in government circles, obtained through a combination of bribes, and threats, that it openly operated in Panama, with impunity. The American indictments, and OFAC sanctions, which include prohibitions on US residents doing business with the Waked empire, are intended to collapse its operations, save perhaps those limited legitimate companies that are receiving licenses from US Treasury, and which employ thousands of Panamanians.

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