Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mexican Fugitive’s Kin Donated to Obama Campaign

The brothers of a Mexican casino magnate who fled the United States in 1994 to avoid fraud and drug charges raised and contributed money for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, The New York Times reported.

The Obama campaign, however, said it will return the roughly $200,000 collected by brothers Carlos and Alberto Rojas Cardona.

“On the basis of the questions that have been raised, we will return the contributions from these individuals and from any other donors they brought to the campaign,” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told The Times.

Juan Jose “Pepe” Rojas Cardona jumped bail in Iowa in 1994 and since then has been linked to violence and corruption in Mexico, where he owns casinos.

A 2009 State Department cable revealed by WikiLeaks notes that Pepe was suspected of orchestrating the murder of a business rival and making illegal donations to Mexican political campaigns.

The daily reported that in January 2011, Chicago-based Carlos Rojas Cardona asked the former chairman of the Democratic Party of Iowa to ask the then-governor for a pardon for Cardona, but the state government turned down the request.

Last autumn, Carlos and Alberto, who also lives in Chicago, began collecting money for the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

According to what Democratic activists told The New York Times, the Cardona brothers, both U.S. citizens and neither with a history of making political donations, “appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the world of Democratic fund-raising.”

Each contributed the maximum to the DNC – $30,800 – while a sister, Leticia Rojas Cardona, a resident of Tennessee, donated $13,000 to the DNC, according to the documents the daily obtained, which added that there is no record of Pepe Cardona making any donation.

The daily reported that although the two brothers live and work in Chicago, they also maintain personal and business ties with Pepe Cardona in Mexico.

Cardona, who is suspected of illegally channeling $5 million to political campaigns in Mexico in 2006, in 2007 survived a murder attempt attributed to organized crime figures.

Source: EFE