* US, Peruvian accounts had been frozen
* Sanchez-Paredes family linked to trafficking allegations
* Two accounts still in case
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK, April 3 Federal prosecutors in
Manhattan have narrowed a money-laundering case they brought
last year over alleged drug trafficking proceeds linked to a
In October, authorities announced the seizure of $31 million
in proceeds in nine U.S. bank accounts, including at Bank of
America Corp, Wells Fargo & Co and JPMorgan
Chase & Co, plus the freezing of funds in three Peruvian
accounts. Banks were not accused of wrongdoing.
By the end of last week, however, prosecutors had dropped
claims relating to 10 of the 12 accounts, including all of those
associated with the Sanchez-Paredes family's San Simon gold
mine, according to court papers and defense lawyers working on
The two remaining accounts, one linked to the United States
and one linked to Peru, hold about $3.5 million, according to
Lilly Ann Sanchez, a lawyer representing accounts affiliated
with the San Simon mine.
These remaining accounts are affiliated with Comarsa, a gold
mine run by the family, which according to one of its lawyers
hopes for a trial soon.
"Comarsa has made it clear in its court filings that the
government's allegations are totally wrong, and that they will
disprove those allegations in a trial on the merits," lawyer
Abbe Lowell said in an interview on Tuesday.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan declined to comment
Prosecutors had accused the Sanchez-Paredes family, which
has faced allegations of drug trafficking for more than two
decades, of using the accounts to launder drug proceeds as
legitimate profits from mining companies and shell companies.
The family, whose business interests range from mining to
show horses, has denied involvement in drug trafficking.
Seven accounts, including five U.S. accounts, that were
dropped from the case last week held about $2 million, and were
dropped after prosecutors got evidence that San Simon was "a
completely legitimate, profitable and productive gold mine,"
Robert Cleary, another lawyer for the family, said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors had in November and February dropped other
claims on accounts affiliated with customers of the family's
companies, including up to $20.2 million held in a Wells Fargo
account, according to court filings.
In a recent advertisement in the Peruvian newspaper El
Comercio, members of the family whose accounts were cleared
blamed "irresponsible" Peruvian public prosecutors for leading
U.S. officials to open the case.
The case is USA v. Any and All Funds on Deposit at Various
Bank Accounts, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York, No. 12-07530.