|Nidal Waked Hatum|
Attorneys for convicted Panamanian money laundering kingpin, Nidal Waked Hatum, have requested, and received, substantial additional time to file their brief on his behalf, in the pending Government appeal of the denial of entry of a $20m forfeiture order against Waked. The trial judge, after sentencing Waked to a term of imprisonment, which he has already served and been returned to his native Panama, declined to enter a fortfeiture for reason that the Government has contended was reversible error. The Government has made a convincing case for reversal.
What is troubling about the delay is the fact that counsel for Waked is not a sole practitioner, but a member of a major criminal defense law firm, with a number of other lawyers also available to be attorney of record, any one of whom is competent to write a brief. The longer a final decision on the appeal is delayed, the easier it is for Waked, shown to be one of Panana's most experienced money launderers, to move assets, and therefore to insure that the United States will never be able to recover on a forfeiture order, when it is eventually entered.