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US judge tosses RICO suit in Panama will fight

MIAMI (AP) – A federal judge in Miami has thrown out a racketeering lawsuit filed by an American lawyer against members of a powerful Panamanian family in a lengthy struggle over a multimillionaire’s estate.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola ruled Thursday that the four-year RICO statute of limitations had expired when the lawsuit was filed last year. It sought $725 million and accused members of Panama’s Arias family, attorneys and three judges of trying to steal the estate of wealthy businessman Wilson C. Lucom. He died in 2006.

Attorney Richard Lehman says Lucom wanted to create a foundation to feed poor children in Panama. Attorneys for the Arias family contend that Lehman concocted the foundation to gain control over the estate for himself.

It’s unclear what legal moves might be next.

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