The family of kidnapped Mexican politician Diego Fernandez de Cevallos has paid the abductors a ransom of more than $20 million, capital daily El Universal said Thursday.
The former lawmaker and 1994 presidential candidate is to be released within the next 40 days, the newspaper said, citing unnamed family sources.
While depressed and ailing after five months in captivity, Fernandez de Cevallos is not in any imminent danger, El Universal said, adding that the family apparently turned to “some friends” for help in raising the ransom.
Fernandez de Cevallos remains an important figure in Mexico’s ruling National Action Party, or PAN, 16 years after his failed presidential bid.
The man known as “Boss Diego” disappeared May 14 from his La Cabaña ranch near San Clemente, a town in the central state of Queretaro.
The politician’s vehicle was found at the entrance to the ranch’s garage, with traces of blood inside.
The case was initially handled by the Queretaro Attorney General’s Office, with support from federal prosecutors.
But the federal AG’s office said on May 22 that it was suspending its investigation in accordance with the wishes of the politician’s family.
Neither authorities nor the media have been able to obtain any reliable information about the kidnappers, who have referred to themselves as the “Mysterious Disappearers” in several public statements.
In their latest message, e-mailed last month to media outlets, the Disappearers accused the captive’s family of forgetting about him and claimed that Fernandez de Cevallos’ “own friends don’t care what his fate is.”
A fiery orator, Boss Diego served in the lower house of Congress from 1991 to 1994 and in the Senate from 2000 to 2006.
He also runs a successful law firm that has represented both Mexico’s elite corporations and reputed drug kingpins.