PANAMA CITY.- The editorial groups “El Siglo” and “La Estrella” alongside the Soho Mall are the most renowned cases in Panama regarding this black list.
The “Clinton List”, created in 1995 during the administration of Bill Clinton thus the name, is a data base, or “black list” officially called: Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT), that assembles companies or people from all over the world that according to the United States have had ties with money from drug trafficking, have been drug dealers or have been involved in asset laundering.
It was created as part of a set of mandatory rules “to take steps in the war on drugs and asset laundering”.
This list is issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), department of the treasury of the United States.
The OFAC of the department of the treasury makes the list with the intention of prohibiting United States citizens or companies, agree on financial transactions, have businesses or bank transactions with those involved in the document, under penalty of a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
The list has precise data, like company name or citizens, address and Unique Registry Taxpayer (RUC) or ID number.
As part of a war on drug trafficking, this is a tool that blocks a group of people in a financial world, prohibiting them to do business with US companies.
What sanctions apply to these people?
The people or entities that do business with the individuals or companies included on the Clinton List could face a 30 year prison term and be fined over 5 million dollars in the case of legal persons 10 million dollars in the case of legal entities.
Legal persons or entities that appear on the list may not have financial transactions or business with the United States and the companies thereof that are in business with them are committing a crime.
Waked on the list
This past May 5th the owner of GESE and “Grupo Walked International S.A.” (WISA), Abdul Waked was included by the US Department of the Treasury on the Clinton List for money laundering, which prohibit US citizens and entities to have trade relations with him and 68 associated companies.
The measure involved the demise of the majority of these businesses, among them the newspapers, which even though they received an extension on their license, making it possible for them to continue working, have been affected due to the uncertainty of their future forcing them to reduce physical space and downsize.
GESE has been forced to downsize, shorten content and frequency of some publications, and have been affected by the dramatic decrease of advertisers, highlighted Quirós.
To show the country how little they have left and the meaning of their possible disappearance, “La Estrella de Panamá”, founded in 1853, and “El Siglo” started a campaign today where they will start covering the names of the papers in black, this covering will expand as the days pass by.
Abdul Waked will not sell the newspapers, as has happened with some of his other companies, which have had to be sold or put into a trust so as to exclude its owner and be allowed to work away from the US sanctions.
Waked faces no charges in the United States or the public ministry of Panama , after investigating him and finding no evidence against him, he asked for an acquittal last November.
See the whole list here: https://www.treasury.gov/ofac/downloads/sdnlist.txt