The US Treasury has slapped sanctions on eight people and 20 companies connected to a global money laundering network which operated out of Panama. The Treasury has placed the individuals on the The network used a series of shell companies set up by a Panamanian lawyer to launder the proceeds of cash.
In 2011, the alleged leader of the network, Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly was arrested in Costa Rica in connection with drug trafficking and money laundering. The US secured his extradition in 2012. The latest sanctions freeze his assets, which prevents US citizens from transacting with them.
The ringleader’s associates who were also placed on the list are:
- Jorge Plata McNulty, a Panamanian lawyer. He was the network’s man in Panama, who set up the shell companies for Cheaitelly and his associates for many years as part of a money laundering scheme. Ten of the shell companies were registered in his name.
- Ignacio Plata Rivera, his father
- Ali Hassan (“Alex”) Cheaitelli Saheli, a relative of Fadlallah Cheaitelly
- Marylu Omeara Navarro de Cheaitelly, a relative of Fadlallah Cheaitelly who along with Alex oversaw the smooth running of the entities in Panama.
Entities in Colombia, Mexico and the Colon Free Trade Zone in Panama were placed on the sanctioned list. The type of business runs from import/export firms, a non profit-foundation, restaurants and other shells which were registed to Fadlallah Cheaitelly himself, or to his associates. Interestingly, one of the firms used to launder cash which was registered to the group’s alleged leader is the Restaurante Beirut in Mexico City.
Click here for the full network and some bizarrely smiling mugshots of the associates.