US lifts sanctions on Colombian soccer team allegedly linked to cartel

US lifts sanctions on Colombian soccer team allegedly linked to cartel
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The Treasury Department lifted sanctions on Thursday against a Colombian soccer team allegedly linked to a drug cartel. 

The team, Envigado soccer club, and its owner, Juan Pablo Upegui Gallego, were placed on the department's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list by the Obama administration in 2014 amid allegations that the Office of Envigado, a violent cartel, was using the team to launder money.

Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said that the decision to lift the sanctions came "after the Colombian government and the soccer team undertook extensive efforts that severed the club’s former ties."


Mandelker said the team worked with Columbia's Superintendency of Companies to undergo a corporate restructuring and sever ties with individuals and groups linked to the Office of Envigado.

"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," she said in a statement.

The decision to remove Envigado from the sanctions list allows individuals in the U.S. to enter into transactions and dealings with the popular team.