Press Center

 Treasury Designates Peruvian Airline


11/10/2004

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today formally added Aero Continente, a passenger and cargo airline based in Lima, Peru, to its list of entities designated pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). In addition, the Treasury also designated Nuevo Continente as an A.K.A. of Aero Continente.

"The drug trade is driven, first and foremost, by financial greed and the desire for profit. Aero Continente is a financial fa�ade controlled by the notorious Peruvian drug kingpin, Fernando Zevallos Gonzales," said OFAC Director Robert Werner. "The Bush Administration continues to unravel drug trafficking operations and their illicit financial infrastructures by taking actions like today's, which deprive narcotics traffickers of illegal profits funneled through companies such as Aero Continente."

The airline has been blocked by the Treasury pending further investigation since June 1, 2004 following President Bush's decision to identify Fernando Zevallos Gonzales, the airline's founder, as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker under the Kingpin Act. Fernando Zevallos Gonzales has been a major figure in Peruvian narcotics trafficking for more than two decades. Today's action reaffirms that U.S. entities and persons are prohibited from conducting business with Aero Continente, and continues the blocking of assets of Aero Continente in U.S. jurisdiction.

After OFAC's June 1 blocking action, the airline underwent various alleged changes in ownership and changed its name to Nuevo Continente. Despite the ostensible ownership change, the airline was unable to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Treasury Department that all ties with the airline's former owners had been severed.

This action is part of the ongoing interagency effort of the Treasury, Justice, State, Defense, and Homeland Security Departments, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which was signed into law on December 3, 1999, and which applies economic sanctions against narcotics traffickers on a worldwide basis. The Kingpin Act was modeled after Executive Order 12978, which applies economic sanctions against narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia and which is also administered by OFAC.

The U.S. President has named a total of 48 Kingpins since 2000. Fernando Zevallos Gonzales was one of ten Kingpins named by President Bush this year, and is the first Kingpin from Peru.

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