Sunday, October 25, 2020

Former Mexican governor extradited to US to face transnational money laundering charges


A former governor of the third-largest state in Mexico was extradited to the U.S. Tuesday to face charges for his role in a transnational money laundering scheme.

This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation was conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service.

Also participating in this investigation were the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Mexico (via the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty), and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

Jorge Juan Torres-Lopez, 65, a former governor of Coahuila, Mexico, who has been in Mexican custody since Feb. 5, was extradited to the U.S. Oct. 29. He is scheduled for his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington in Corpus Christi Oct. 30.

- Advertisement -

A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Torres-Lopez Feb. 8, 2017. Torres-Lopez is charged in a money laundering scheme that includes offenses against a foreign nation involving bribery of a public official, and misappropriation, theft and embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official. He is also charged with bank fraud and wire fraud.

This case is related to previous civil litigation in which authorities seized two foreign bank accounts located in Bermuda. Torres-Lopez and his former secretary of finance, Hector Javier Villarreal-Hernandez, allegedly opened these accounts to conceal stolen monies.

Sun Secured Advantage and N.T. Butterfield and Son Limited held these accounts which each held more than $2 million. As its basis for forfeiture, the government contended the funds were involved in a money laundering transaction, the property constituted or was derived from proceeds traceable to offenses including bribery of a public official or the misappropriation, theft or embezzlement of public funds by, or for the benefit of, a public official.

Torres-Lopez and Villarreal-Hernandez were holders of these accounts and allegedly transferred stolen Coahuila finances from Mexico into an account in Brownsville, Texas.

- Advertisement -

They later transferred the money to bank accounts in Bermuda, according to court documents. Villarreal-Hernandez, 48, of Saltillo, Coahuilla, Mexico, was convicted in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas for money laundering offenses and is awaiting sentencing.

These charges allege the Mexican government employed Torres-Lopez from 1994 to 2011. His roles allegedly included work as the general director of Promotion and Development as secretary of Finance for the state of Coahuila, municipal president of Saltillo and interim governor of Coahuila.

About December 2005, Villarreal-Hernandez was appointed as undersecretary of Program and Budget for the state of Coahuila. At the time, Torres-Lopez was his supervisor.

In July 2008, Villarreal-Hernandez was appointed to the position of secretary of Finance for Coahuila, where he remained until his resignation in August 2011, according to court documents.

During his time in office, Mexican authorities reportedly began investigating Villarreal-Hernandez. At the same time, U.S. officials uncovered evidence that in 2008 both Torres-Lopez and Villarreal-Hernandez allegedly opened accounts at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank in Brownsville.

The charges allege they used these accounts to move monies to offshore accounts in Bermuda. The two used stolen funds from the Mexican federal government and the state of Coahuila.

If convicted of money laundering, Torres-Lopez faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $500,000 fine, twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transaction — or both.

Bank fraud and wire fraud carry 30- and 20-year terms of imprisonment, respectively, as well as up to $1 million and $250,000 in potential fines.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie K. Hampton, Jon Muschenheim and Lance A. Watt, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.



Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Hong Kong fines Goldman Sachs $350 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs ignored multiple red flags over the multibillion-dollar fundraisings it arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Hong Kong’s financial regulator said on...

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton fires top aide who accused him of bribery

Lacey Mase, one of the top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of crimes including bribery and abuse of office, has been fired, she told The...

Latest News

This Week

Trial of bitcoin launderer Alexander Vinnik begins in Paris

The trial of a Russian man alleged to have used ransomware in a 135 million euros ($157 million) bitcoin fraud will begin Monday. Alexander Vinnik, who...

Judge opposed dismissal of bribery charge against former Portage mayor Synder

A judge denied Thursday two motions to dismiss a soliciting bribes charge former Portage Mayor James Snyder will be retried on, according to court...

Textile suppliers for fashion retailer Boohoo investigated for money laundering and VAT fraud

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is investigating companies that supply the fast-fashion giant Boohoo on suspicion of money laundering and VAT fraud. Britain’s crime-fighting agency...

Crown Melbourne casino faces money laundering probe

Crown Resorts is facing a new threat to its casino licences and the prospect of multimillion-dollar fines after it was informed by Austrac, the...

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks