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Regulator takes control of Panama's Balboa Bank & Trust following US investigation

Panamanianbanking regulator SBP announced May 5 that it is taking administrative and operationalcontrol of Balboa Bank & TrustCorp. after the company was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Departmentfor alleged links to an extensive Panama-based money laundering network.

The U.S.Treasury said the money laundering scheme, which was led by Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatumand Abdul Mohamed Waked Fares, used various methods to launder drug proceeds formultiple international drug traffickers.

The Treasuryfroze the U.S. assets of 68 companies linked to the network, including Balboa Bankand its holding company, Strategic Investors Group Inc.

The SBPsaid the development does not pose any contagion risks for Panama's banking sector.