World-Check Profiles Narcotics Traffickers Four Years Ahead of OFAC

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The United States' Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) has recently named six Colombian nationals as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers. World-Check can confirm that its researchers had already profiled four of the six designated individuals as early as 2003.

The United States' Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) has named six Colombian nationals as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT), together with three corporate entities controlled by these individuals. World-Check can confirm that its researchers had already profiled four of the six designated individuals as early as 2003.

"Alerting our clients to risk ahead of the curve in cases such as this has always been our main driving force. We remain focused on identifying heightened risk individuals and our continued investment in people and technology has certainly proven to have paid off," said David Leppan, CEO and Founder of World-Check.

OFAC's designation of these six individuals is part of the ongoing US government's effort to implement Executive Order 12978 of October 21, 1995, which applies economic sanctions against Colombia's drug cartels. Of the six individuals World-Check had already profiled Ramiro Vanoy Murillo by 2003 and Miguel Angel Melchor Mejia Munera, Victor Manuel Mejia Munera and Francisco Javier Zuluaga Lindo by 2004.

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury the District Court for the District of Columbia indicted twin brothers Miguel Angel Mejia Munera and Victor Manuel Mejia Munera ("Los Mellizos") on narcotics trafficking charges in 2004. The Mejia Munera brothers have allegedly been involved in narcotics trafficking since the early 1990s and rose through the ranks to lead their own narcotics trafficking organization. Recent reports, according to OFAC, indicate that Los Mellizos may be funding their own illegal armed groups to facilitate their narcotics trafficking activities. Both are fugitives from justice and accodring to the US Treasury, the United States is offering up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Miguel Angel Mejia Munera.

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury Ramiro Vanoy Murillo was indicted by the Southern District of Florida in 1999 on narcotics charges and he and Francisco Javier Zuluaga are currently in a Colombian prison awaiting extradition to the United States.

The consequence of this OFAC designation is the freezing of any assets the individuals may have subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibits all financial and commercial transactions by any U.S. person with the designated companies and individuals. As the leading provider of risk related intelligence to financial institutions and regulatory agencies across the globe, World-Check's database is unequaled in its effectiveness as an early warning system for financial risk.

"World-Check consistently identifies high-risk individuals and entities, especially narcotics traffickers and terrorist financiers, to alert our clients as to the clear and present dangers they pose to the financial community," said World-Check's financial crime consultant Kenneth Rijock. "These profiles often appear years ahead of OFAC designations of SDNT and SDGT," observed Rijock.

About World-Check
World-Check provides its global database of heightened-risk individuals and businesses to more than 2000 institutions, including 46 of the world's 50 largest financial institutions and hundreds of government agencies. The database is updated daily in real-time by World-Check's international research team, and is derived from hundreds of thousands of public sources. Coverage includes Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), money launderers, fraudsters, terrorists and sanctioned entities - plus individuals and businesses from over a dozen other high-risk categories. World-Check's database and tools find direct application in financial compliance, anti-money laundering (AML), Know-Your-Customer (KYC), PEP screening, enhanced due diligence (EDD), fraud prevention, government intelligence and other identity authentication, background screening and risk-prevention practices.

World-Check offers a downloadable database for the automated screening of an entire customer base, as well as a simple online service for quick customer screening.

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