Message for U.S. Citizens: U.S. Persons Prohibited from Engaging in Transactions with the La Riviera Chain of Duty Free Stores

Pursuant to the Kingpin Act, on May 5, 2016, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated eight individuals and 69 entities for their involvement in international narcotics trafficking-related activities.

Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatum and Abdul Mohamed Waked Fares co-lead the Waked Money Laundering Organization (Waked MLO) which specializes in the use of trade-based money laundering schemes.  In addition to the designation of the Waked MLO and its leaders, the OFAC action designated six Panama-based MLO associates for providing material support and/or for being controlled, directed or acting for or on behalf of the Waked MLO.  The designation also targeted the principal Panama-based companies used by the Waked MLO to launder drug and other illicit proceeds, including Grupo Wisa S.A., a holding company for businesses involved in real estate, construction, retail, hospitality, financial services, and media, and the La Riviera chain of duty-free stores operating throughout Latin America.

As a result of the OFAC action, all assets of these individuals and entities that are under the jurisdiction of the United States or in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with designated entities. Specifically, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with the La Riviera chain of duty free stores that operate in many international airports throughout Central and South America.

The official Treasury press release is posted at: The names and identifying information of the eight total foreign individuals and 69 entities are available for download from OFAC’s website at