The News
The News
Tuesday 22 of September 2020

Duarte’s Laundry

Miguel Ángel Yunes being sworn in as Veracruz governor,photo: Cuartoscuro/Alberto Roa
Miguel Ángel Yunes being sworn in as Veracruz governor,photo: Cuartoscuro/Alberto Roa
Duarte did not merely steal, but grabbed all there was in the Veracruz government’s bank accounts

One unique feature of the swearing into office of Miguel Ángel Yunes as governor of the Gulf of Mexico coastal state of Veracruz is that he will only serve for two years.

In 2018, the state will hold elections once again this time to elect a governor for six year under the new structure Congress implemented.

But that doesn’t seem to matter for Gov. Yunes, who last Thursday took over the governorship of a bankrupt and economically-devastated state product of the outright theft of most of the funds by former governor Javier Duarte, now on the lam as he is being sought in 190 nations to bring him home and respond for his pillaging of public monies.

Immediately after becoming governor, Yunes revealed that 1,250 million pesos ($61.2 million) of lost funds have been recovered, part of it, 425 million, directly by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), also with the help from the Interior Secretariat (Segob).

Yet since last May website Animal Político has made public the system of “ghost” or falsely registered companies through which Duarte and his business partner Moisés Mansur Cysneiros as well as his wife Karime Macías amassed a fortune — nobody knows really how much — estimated to being close to 100 billion pesos, in what observers consider perhaps the biggest fraud of public funds in Mexican history, which columnist Yuriria Sierra, who says has the documents to prove it now calls “the robbery of the century.”

The trio formed by Duarte, Macías and Mansur came out of the law school of the Ibero American University in Mexico City. Duarte and Macías ended up marrying each other and Mansur, best known as “Moi,” stuck together over the years until he became their legal front and “owner” of their fortune. In fact, Mansur confessed to a reporter that he would leave his Duarte his entire “inheritance”, namely, the stolen funds nowadays well laundered and spread all over the world.

Since September, PGR investigations found the several ghost companies but not all the money.

In the meantime the entire bureaucracy of the state of Veracruz staged a strike once Duarte went “missing” or disappeared right under the noses of PGR and Segob agents who were supposed to be watching his whereabouts. Also missing are his wife Karime (who is said to be the brain behind the theft) and Moisés Mansur. They went AWOL, if you believe that a guy with all that money can disappear.

The Duarte gang’s modus operandi was that he would withdraw state-owned funds from banking accounts at Bancomer and Banco del Bajío and would deposit them in the name of Moisés Mansur. In turn, Mansur would carry out interbank electronic transferences to companies owned and created by him which would reinvest in legal companies owned by legal entrepreneurs.

Some of the money recovered by PGR was found in those companies whose owners were not aware of the source of the funds and when told were more than willing to give it back as it became clear to them that Duarte and Mansur had offered them, “in partnership,” ill-gotten investments for real estate and filling station business. This was merely part of the money returned to the state as the great bulk is still missing.

But even if these companies, Combusev Real Estate and Hidrosina Plus filling stations, are the tip of the iceberg they represent the fashion in which Moisés Mansur “invested” Duarte’s stolen money until the state went totally bankrupt and Duarte could not hide his truancy anymore.

Duarte did not merely steal, but grabbed all there was in the Veracruz government’s bank accounts.

This, however, are not all the charges against Javier Duarte. He is now suspect of organized crime – he allegedly received $12 million from a drug trafficking gang, according to a Houston court – and the PGR is now investigating accusations that charge him with murder.

What remains suspect now is how Duarte, his wife and Mansur suddenly “disappeared” the same way former Tamaulipas state governor Tomás Yarrington did exactly for the same reasons – including running from a group of organized criminals.

The question is if authorities will actually find Duarte and his partners or they will just let it go until two years from now, when now Gov. Yunes finishes his mandate, and then forget it all.

Yunes has promised to deliver in two years a financially healthy state of Veracruz. It will be just fine if he did lest we forget that it was exactly the same promise Duarte made four years ago.