WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States lifted sanctions on Thursday on Colombian soccer team Envigado Futbol Club S.A. after it severed ties to a group involved in international drug trafficking and other criminal activities, the Treasury Department said.
The sanctions were imposed in November 2014 because the club’s owner allowed the Oficina de Envigado crime gang to use its balance sheet to hide profits from drug trafficking, extortion and murder-for-hire, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said at the time.
“OFAC lifted sanctions on Envigado Futbol Club after the Colombian government and the soccer team undertook extensive efforts that severed the club’s former ties with the criminal influence of La Oficina de Envigado,” Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said.
The Kingpin Act allows the United States to freeze the assets of companies and individuals thought to be involved with money laundering and prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in transactions with them. The Oficina de Envigado was placed on the list in June 2014.
“This de-listing demonstrates that Treasury sanctions to combat drug cartels can effectively disrupt their ingrained financial investments and hinder their long-term plans to launder money through the sports industry,” Mandelker said in the statement.
The team, based near the central city of Medellin, is well-known for training rising stars.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Thomas