U.S. Treasury Sanctions Kingpins for Panama-based Operation

The U.S. Treasury Department designated Lebanese-Colombian nationals Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly and Mohamad Zouheir El Khansa as drug kingpins for their Panama-based money laundering activity.

“Jorge Fadlallah Cheaitelly runs an extensive money laundering network based in Panama and Colombia with ties to Mexico, Lebanon, and Hong Kong,” Adam Szubin, Director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets, said in a statement. 

“By designating these individuals and companies we are exposing a significant international money laundering network, forcing them out of the international financial system, and undermining their ability to launder drug money through a global support network for the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels.”

Among the 28 companies designated Thursday that are controlled by Cheaitelly, El Khansa and their associates are several money-exchange businesses in Panama including Eurocambio, S.A., Euro Exchange Y Financial Commerce, Inc. (a.k.a. Eurex), General Commerce Overseas, Inc., Global Technology Import & Export, S.A., Fedco Import & Export, S.A. and Junior International S.A., affiliated with the Lebanese drug trafficker and money launderer, Ayman Joumaa, who was designated under the Kingpin Act in January 2011.

Cheaitelly replaced Joumaa as director of Junior International S.A. and continues to operate the company with Joumaa’s brothers, who are also designated as narcotics traffickers, Treasury said.

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