US-Sanctioned Venezuelan Vice President Accused of Money Laundering in Panama

By: Karina Martín - Jun 7, 2017, 2:06 pm
Aissami could have attacked or manipulated the country’s security networks, breaking various terrorism laws (Flickr)

EspañolPanama officials are looking into opening an investigation against Venezuela Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who they think may have been involved in money laundering schemes in the country.

Panama’s former Ambassador to the Organization of American States Guillermo Cochez made the initial request to investigateEl Aissami, who has already been sanctioned by the United States for similar crimes.

Cochez’s request to the Attorney General’s Office in Panama claimed that both El Aissami and his alleged frontman Samark López Bello be investigated following those US sanctions, which he said “proves” illegal funds passed through Panama.

He claimed that Aissami could have attacked or manipulated the country’s security networks, breaking various terrorism laws.

“They may be using the Panamanian corporate and financial system to launder assets for illicit acts such as drug trafficking and corruption of civil servants,” Cochez said. “No one knows how much money they have managed to place in Panama, but they are known to have turned Panama into an important player in an extensive laundering network.”

According to investigations by the United States Department of the Treasury, Lopez was responsible for opening accounts in the United States and creating ghost companies in Panama, Barbados and Venezuela, among others, in order to send and receive money to and from the Venezuelan Vice President.

Additionally, Venezuela has an office taking up the entire 24th floor of one of the most luxurious buildings in Panama, making it easy for such activity to go on unnoticed.

“(Lopez and El Aissami) may be promising to pay or grant benefits to Panamanian officials to avoid setting off financial alarms,” Cochez  said.

El Aissami is blacklisted by OFAC and continues to be under investigation by US officials for his links to extremist movements in the Middle East.

According to US authorities, El Aissami coordinated drug shipments to a violent Mexican cartel, and provided protection to Colombian drug lord Daniel Barrera and Venezuelan drug trafficker Hermagoras Gonzalez Polanco.

Sources: El Nuevo Herald; Miami Diario; Crítica.

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.

Brazil President Temer Delays Interrogation About Involvement in Bribe Scandal

By: Karina Martín - Jun 7, 2017, 12:14 pm

EspañolThe deadline for Brazil President Michel Temer to answer questions about possible bribery has been extended, officials announced Wednesday, June 7. The Federal Police originally delivered Temer 82 questions to answer regarding leaked audio in which he can be heard discussing the details of paying off a former official. He was supposed to respond to them by Tuesday, June 6 but now has until this Friday, June 9. Temer's legal team requested the extension, claiming that it would be "absolutely impossible" to answer them all within 24 hours, especially because the President has such a busy schedule. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   The interrogation is part of a corruption investigation against Temer involving a conversation he had about trying to buy the silence of a former congressman who had been imprisoned for his participation in the Petrobas scandal. At the same time, Temer is facing a scandal involving alleged "abuse of economic and political power," which is already on trial and involves irregular electoral funds during the 2014 election, for which he was the vice president. Read More: Leaked Audio Shows Brazil President Temer Negotiating Bribes Read More: Brazil Faces Challenge as Corruption Allegations Threaten Temer Government That case may also see an extension by three days, as one of the seven judges hearing it wants to suspend debate for review. Sources: Diario las Américas; El Universo; Telesur.

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