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Aug 22, 2017

John Zabaneh comes off U.S. ‘drug kingpin’ list

John Zabaneh

Businessman John Zabaneh is a well-known entrepreneur in South Stann Creek whose ventures, including Mayan King Limited, Mid-south Investments Limited, Belize Chemicals Limited and Crown Paradise Enterprises were all flagged by the U.S. Treasury back in 2012.  Those companies were designated as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers and were sanctioned based on U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives against beleaguered individuals believed to be engaged in a range of criminal activities, including transnational organized crime.  That designation resulted in a significant loss of business and the subsequent shutdown of all banana farming operations, particularly with Fyffes, associated with Zabaneh and his family.  Since being blacklisted five years ago, Zabaneh maintained his innocence and has fought tooth and nail to clear his name, despite massive losses.  In the years that followed, he challenged the Office of Foreign Assets, OFAC, in the U.S. courts and has emerged successful.  With that legal victory, Zabaneh is optimistic that the business community, as well as the Government of Belize, will once again support the family’s efforts to resume those businesses that saw the employment of hundreds of workers in the south.

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