Monday, August 5, 2013

Symbol of impunity: Raúl Salinas the"Inconvenient Relative" of President Carlos Salinas

  By Jenaro Villamil El Diario de Coahuila (August 4, 2013) Proceso (August 3, 2013)

Translated by un vato for Borderland Beat

MEXICO, D.F. (apro).- Once the symbol of corruption during the administration that promised to raise Mexico to First World status, Raul Salinas de Gortari became known as "the uncomfortable brother" on November 21, 1994, when Proceso's Edition No. 942  published for the first time a detailed narrative of the doings, business deals, influence trafficking and wealth of the firstborn of the dynasty that elevated Carlos Salinas to the Presidency of the Republic.

Two decades have gone by since that was published. And 17 years and three months of complicated litigation was brought against Raul Salinas de Gortari, including serving a decade in prison accused of being the mastermind behind the murder of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, his former brother in law and the Secretary General of the PRI.   

Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, of the PRI, imprisoned him and sent Carlos Salinas de Gortari into exile. During the 12 years of PAN administrations, Raul Salinas was released from prison and exonerated in four of the five proceedings pending against him: homicide, embezzlement, tax fraud and money laundering. At the same time, his brother, the former president, "normalized" his public life, published books, became a socialite and called himself the protagonist of the "debate of ideas."

On Wednesday, July 31, the Department of Justice/Office of Attorney General (PGR; Procuraduria General de la Republica) announced it would appeal the ruling issued previously on July 19 by Judge 13 of the District (Court) on Criminal Matters (Distrito en Materia Penal), Carlos Lopez Cruz, who exonerated Raul Salinas in the final case pending against him: unlawful enrichment. That same day, Enrique Pena Nieto, the Mexico State (politician) who led the return of the PRI to the Presidency, underwent surgery to remove a growth in his thyroid gland.

 (Below Raúl with his mistress Maria Bernal)
During the last 17 years, the PGR has lost all of its cases against Raul Salinas. Cleared of the charges of unlawful enrichment, the "uncomfortable brother" will be get back 224 million pesos (approximately $18 million) deposited in 12 bank accounts, as well as 41 properties in 24 Mexican states.  Judge Lopez Cruz admitted that, in less than 10 years, Raul Salinas accumulated a fortune that could not be explained for someone who was living on his salary as a bureaucrat. He went from owning 17 properties and assets of $60,000.00 (dollars) in 1983 --before he was appointed general manager of Distribuidora Conasupo S.A. de C.V.-- to owning in April, 1992, a total of $52 million, 41 real estate properties and investment funds in foreign countries.
However, the judge admitted that, "so long as it is not shown that the assets acquired by public employee Raul Salinas de Gortari are proceeds derived from an abuse of his position," the charges of unlawful enrichment disappear.
Raúl with his wife


In that manner, Raul Salinas would go from being a symbol of corruption to being a symbol of impunity, "the greatest defeat for the procurement of justice in this country," warns historian and essayist Lorenzo Meyer, who was interviewed by Proceso to analyze the political repercussions in the case. 

There is no room for optimism in Meyer's analysis.

"To understand this process, it is necessary to view the Salinas brothers almost as an accident. If it had not been Carlos and Raul, it would have been somebody else. The fundamental problem is the quality and the quantity of the corruption, independent of political parties, of the "alternancia" [transition of political power from PRI to PAN] or the change in administrations. There is something calloused in our political class.

"In the case of Mexico, it turns out that the political class fails time and again, and nothing happens to it. In other countries, a political class which fails must end up in the trash bin of history. This is what's happening with Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. This is what happened with Menem in Argentina, with Collor de Mello in Brazil, with Fujimori in Peru. But in Mexico, nothing happens. On the contrary, they even give back Raul Salinas his millions."

The co-author of La Revolucion Mexicana, 1928-1934, an expert on the Cardenas era, a specialist on U.S.-Mexico relations, Meyer is articulating a hypothesis: unlike the value that competition is given in the economic marketplace, with respect to politics, incompetence and corruption are "what is convenient."

"There's solidarity in the shamelessness of a political class that fails time and again in its fundamental commitment, which should be the welfare of the country, but they do quite well. They have gotten on top of a tendency that is historical in Mexico: the incompetence of the political class and its impunity."

--Does the Raul Salinas case indicate that the corruption was worse during the neoliberal period than during the Mexican statist period?

--It is not greater. It has always been the same. The terrible thing is that, for a moment, we thought that Mexico had taken a great qualitative leap with the "alternancia", but that was not the case.

"The message that the political class is sending to society with the Raul Salinas case is tremendous: 'Look, you bunch of drooling idiots, this is the real political situation. Do whatever you want. In the end, we, the political class, understand the nature of the corruption in this country and that's not going to change.'"
Fake Passport
--Is it a message of total impunity?

--Yes. Most of the responsibility is the PGR's. Maybe because its job is not to obtain justice, but rather, injustice. Impunity is the worst injustice.

--However, some would say that Raul Salinas did spend some years in prison

--Yes, he was there for something they could not prove against him (masterminding the murder of Ruiz Massieu), but that only serves to make Mexican society even more cynical.

"It is a lesson that the political class has taught us well: don't get your hopes up, nothing is happening here.

The Raul Salinas phenomenon is convenient for the political class. Without saying it explicitly, it indicates to us that there will never be the possibility of transforming the enormous castle of corruption that is the Mexican political system."

--Why, then, do they imprison characters like Granier, Elba Esther Gordillo, etc.?

--Because Granier is a newcomer to the traditional political class. It is very useful to the political system for someone to go down from time to time, as was the case with Jorge Diaz Serrano; but as for the real (powers), such as Mr. Montiel from the State of Mexico, nobody touches them nor takes anything from them. (The Salinas Brothers in photo below)

Meyer also recalls two episodes that illustrate the hypocrisy of the political class in the face of the Raul Salinas phenomenon: the confessions of former president Miguel de la Madrid and the conversations recorded with Luis Tellez, then Secretary of Communications and Transport, regarding the theft of the funds in the Presidency's secret account.

In both cases, says the historian, "they let us know, more or less, that funds were looted from the public treasury, but nothing happened." "This guy had some bad luck!" exclaims Meyer, remembering Miguel de la Madrid. "He told us he regretted leaving Carlos Salinas de Gortari (there) because it turns out he liked money."

In May or 2009, former president De la Madrid admitted in an interview with Carmen Aristegui that his successor, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, covered up for his brothers' corruption, particularly that of Raul and Enrique, who had "ties with drug trafficking groups."

Raul Salinas "obtained government contracts, was communicating with drug traffickers. I don't remember exactly which ones, but with those who gave him money to take to Switzerland," stated De la Madrid. 

"When I was no longer president, I became aware of the money that Raul had taken, the Swiss bank account. I became more or less aware of the transactions they were doing through U.S. banks; they would perform transactions to pick up the money and take it to Switzerland," he explained.

De la Madrid's statements triggered an immediate and angry reaction, which forced the former president to retract his words, at the same time that his relatives and close associates argued that he was not all well in his mental faculties.

Raul Salinas de Gortari published a letter of clarification on May 14, 2009, to defend himself against De la Madrid's accusations.  With respect to the "investment fund" created in 1994 with capital from different businessmen, including Carlos Peralta, Carlos Hank and Roberto Gonzalez Barrera, he stated:

"For 13 years, I was exhaustively investigated by four of the most advanced countries on matters of criminal investigations (Switzerland, France, England and the United States). The evidence found by those countries was fed to the Swiss investigation.

"In the end, Swiss authorities concluded that there did not exist evidence, even circumstantial, that  that could link the assets deposited in that country with any activity related to drug trafficking.

"In June of 2008, Swiss Judge Paul Perraudin issued a ruling in which he considered the case closed in Switzerland, establishing that there was no evidence linking me or my family with organized crime."


The acquittal on July 19 made no findings with respect to the money deposited in Switzerland and England. According to the PGR, $74 million of the $110 million dollars that were part of the "investors' fund" were returned to Raul Salinas.

The other scandal that was hushed up resulted from the release of a recording by former President Calderon's Secretary of Communications and Transport, Luis Tellez, who was also Undersecretary of Agriculture with Salinas and Secretary of Energy in the Ernesto Zedillo administration.

In February, 2009, a statement by Luis Tellez was divulged in which he talked about Ana Paula Gerard, the wife of former president Salinas de Gortari: "Ana Paula is also into that business...and, well, in the case of Salinas, he stole half of the funds in the  (President's) secret account; yeah, he did a lot of things."

On February 12, shortly after the recordings were revealed, Tellez read a communique in a press conference. He admitted that the recording in which he accused Salinas of taking  half of the secret account was real, but he argued that he had made those statements "in an improper manner." 

"I have never had any evidence of illegal actions by ex-president Carlos Salinas", he noted. Asked about his possible  resignation from the Secretariat of Communications, Tellez answered that there was no reason at all to resign his position. Weeks later, Calderon replaced him.

The debate over the secret account was encouraged by Raul Salinas himself. In a telephone conversation with his sister Adriana, divulged in October 2000 by Televisa's Channel 2 News, he says he will clear up where the funds came from.

"I'm going to say that the funds came out of public funds so they will be returned, I think the public will be satisfied with that," declared Raul, complaining about the recent statements by his brother Carlos.

"Yes, Adriana, I took (the money) out of (Dept. of) Interior on his orders," Raul Salinas pointed out.

Raul Salinas never mentioned that incident again. No even in his book, Diary of the Almoloya Hell, published in 2005 by Diana.   

Lopez Cruz, in his July 19 ruling, found that from September, 1990, to July, 1994, a little over 2,700 million pesos  ($216 million) from the secret (Office of the Presidency) account were illegally transferred to an account in the Banco Mexicano Somex, through Ernesto Senties Hoyos, then the General Manager of the (Office) of the Presidency.

However, this same judge states that "it is irrelevant" whether this money was diverted for the benefit of Juan Manuel Gomez Gutierrez, Raul Salinas de Gortari's accountant, because he (Salinas) had already been acquitted on the charge of embezzlement in the 2004 final ruling issued by the Second Collegiate Tribunal on Criminal Matters in Toluca.

Paradoxically, the Toluca court cleared Raul Salinas of benefiting from 207 million of the 2,218 million pesos diverted by Senties, claiming that the Presidency's secret account was not intended for any  specific purpose.  (end of Proceso article)
left to right: Carlos, Raul and friend
As young children Raúl and Carlos shot and killed their Maid
When Raul had just turned five and Carlos was three years old, they  together with an eight-year-old friend killed the family maid with a .22-caliber rifle.
According to December 18, 1951, Mexico City newspapers, the children had "executed' the twelve-year-old maid, named Manuela, with the rifle, which their father had left loaded in a closet. The published reports, which had mysteriously disappeared from Mexican libraries by the time Salinas had become a public figure, said that it was not entirely clear which of the youngsters had pulled the trigger. The children had been playing war games, and Manuela was condemned to death. They had asked her to get down on her knees, and one of them had shot her.
"Carlos, when asked what had happened, said, 'I killed her with one shot. I m a hero,' the daily El Universal said at the time. La Prensa lashed out against "the irresponsibility of a father who having children under age, allowed them to get near a .22 caliber rifle." It said the children's crushed mother, Margarita Salinas Lozano, was spending the day and night at the police station next to the children, "who, totally ignorant of the intense drama they had caused, were running around last afternoon along the corridors of the Eighth Delegation police station."
In the end, however, the incident was ruled an accident. Nobody was ever charged, and the later destruction or forced removal of the old newspaper copies from libraries throughout Mexico would raise questions as to whether the shooting had ever taken place.
Confidential Document Leak

Transcript of Raul Salina’s answers to questions submitted by the Swiss Prosecution Team December 6, 1995 Almoloya Prison (Altiplano Prison No.1)
This government document leaked out. It covers the Swiss investigators' formal interview with Raul in the presence of Salinas's lawyers and two witnesses. (Note: The does not represent the full document, only selected questions and answers)
With reference to the list of questions duly appended to the casefile, [Salinas] replied:
TO QUESTION 1: Yes, and I wish to give a brief explanation, unless a more extensive commentary will be permitted upon conclusion of the questioning, but first -- since the list of questions originates with the Swiss authorities -- I want to express the following to the Swiss government, Swiss financial institutions and the Swiss people: Switzerland is a country that my family and I -- especially my wife and I -- have known, loved and respected for many years.
My wife went to school in Switzerland when she was a girl, I have taken part in equestrian competitions in Lucerne, my nephews -- my brother's sons -- studied in Switzerland and two children are currently in school there. All of this explains the great confidence with which I opened bank accounts in Switzerland, being cognizant of its standards and rules, and the trustworthiness of the country's institutional banking system.
Secondly, I want to express my apologies to the Swiss government and to the country's financial institutions, especially Banque Pictet, a highly responsible house which opened its doors to me in good faith, and I'm going to explain why I assumed and myself under a different identity.
To begin with, I beg the Swiss authorities to understand that we are not before a judge and that, furthermore, I am subject to a trial in which I have been falsely accused of homicide, so that my statements are limited by the imperatives of the fact that I am defending myself in a trial. Furthermore, I am unaware that the Mexican authorities have charged me with any connection with drug trafficking.
This is why I ask the Swiss authorities to understand that I am going to be absolutely truthful, but that [illegible] to know the action of the Mexican authorities to defend myself. Fourth, in regard to the first and subsequent questions asked me, I wish to point out that I am solely responsible for these accounts and I absolve my brother-in-law Antonio Castanon Rios Zertuche and my wife Paulina Castanon de Salinas of any responsibility. Next, I want to repeat my apologies for my mistakes, but I have never taken part in any criminal activity and certainly never in drug trafficking.
TO QUESTION 2: In Banque Pictet, Geneva, and in Julius Baer Bank and Citibank, Zurich. There was also an account in another Geneva bank which was closed last year. Please understand that, due to my present situation, there are facts that I can't remember precisely, but to the extent that I know the part of the casefile to which I have had access, I can frankly confirm everything that I am responsible for. I think those are the banks that I can recall at the moment. Let me add that I think there is a long-time account in another Swiss bank, also located in Geneva, but I can't precisely remember the name of the bank, which I think I visited only once, and the account application was submitted from the US...continues next page

TO QUESTION 3: At Banque Pictet, in the name of Juan Guillermo Gutierrez Gomez. In another Geneva bank whose name I can't remember precisely at the moment, there was an account in the name of Juan Jose Gonzalez Cadena. In another Geneva bank whose name I also can't recall, I believe the account is under the name Dozart. There is an account in the name of Raul Salinas de Gortari and another in the name of a company, Noborona (I can't state it's correct name since I don't have the documents available, but the account paperwork was submitted from Mexico), at Julius Baer Bank in Zurich. I'm not familiar with Julius Baer Bank; and I can't tell you how many accounts there are or under whose names in Zurich, because the accounts were opened by Citibank in New York and through a Swiss company called Confidas. Now I want to explain the reasons behind this strategy.

To begin with, I categorically deny the slightest connection with drug trafficking, I categorically deny that these funds could have the slightest connection with the crime of financing the illegal dealing in drugs. Any statement by any authority in any country purporting to establish a relationship between these funds and drug trafficking [illegible] because it is a completely false presumption. I never had the slightest connection with drug trafficking or any drug trafficker, that's also an absurd presumption. My brother, former President Salinas, fought organized drug trafficking with total firmness.
This prison is one sign of that fight and -- in contradiction with the Mexican Constitution, which they are violating by holding me here on trial together with convicted felons -- the heads of the major drug trafficking rings that were fought by President Salinas are being held here: Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, Rafael Caro Quintero, Ernesto Fonseca; Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was here; Humberto Garcia Abrego was or is here, along with dozens of druglords that President Salinas fought doggedly, all of which -- I repeat -- makes the idea that I or anyone close to me might be connected with drug trafficking an absurdity.
Let me add that two or three days before I was arrested I was in the US, a country that I have visited dozens of times during the past six years, and I was never detained or questioned by US authorities when I entered the country. On the contrary, I was always warmly received, because I don't have any [2+ lines missing] does not come from any activity related to my work as a government official, it's not dirty money, it is lawfully gained.
I worked in the government in 1989 in a government corporation called CONASUPO, and in 1990-91 in the Secretariat for Planning and Budget, under the secretaryship of Dr. Ernesto Zedillo. My direct superior was Carlos Rojas, the current Secretary. There was never any situation of corruption or abuse of power in the institutions where I worked as a government official.
But there is an explanation for this money: after deciding to organize an association of investor friends, I started to construct various mechanisms for putting together a fund that could be repatriated to Mexico -- at the end of my brother's administration -- for various investment projects and which would serve to obtain a greater volume of credits, because I was and am convinced that the economic recovery and growth of Mexico will require extensive foreign financing.
The mechanisms [illegible] use of different identities is explained precisely because I was trying to protect my family name, and it was only later, when I -- together with an investor friend-- obtained access to the system set up by Citibank, through Confidas, that I could use my real name. The goal was to bring together a group of businessman friends to put together an offshore fund for reasons of safety and in order to avoid entanglement with the political vicissitudes of President Salinas' term.
As I don't have a detailed knowledge of the steps the Mexican authorities are planning to take, I'm not going to now reveal the names of the businessmen who invested in one form or another, since some invested in the form of loans and others in the form of advances on individual projects. If I were in Switzerland right now, I'd happily furnish full details, but I can't provide information when I find myself in a situation where I don't have my files [illegible] other people, but I declare to the Swiss authorities that these people [illegible] and we are going to present this explanation clearly.
I certainly erred in involving my wife by having her sign, but she holds no responsibility for, and has no exact knowledge of, the various participants and projects. In reality, my wife, Paulina Castanon, [illegible] was behaving like a noble and faithful spouse. She can probably think of some names of friends who participated, that's natural and logical, since we got together socially with these businessmen friends.
 I don't believe that my brother-in-law, Antonio Castanon, has the vaguest idea about this strategy, since he never worked with me and I simply feel affection and gratitude toward him for having stuck by my wife with brotherly loyalty during these terrible ten months, dropping his work and his activities to devote himself to Paulina's support.
TO QUESTION 4: In my previous answer, I tried to explain the origin and purpose of these funds, and pointed out that some of the account applications were submitted after 1989, that I didn't always submit them directly myself and that there are even some banks whose names I don't know. Obviously, all of this information is in my files, but right now I can remember some accounts, and I'll deal with them now.
In the case of Banque Pictet in Geneva, I can speak of two periods: the first, from 1989 to June 1993, and the second from June 1993 to present. In the first period, I was introduced to Banque Pictet by Ms Margarita Nava Sanchez, and one or two accounts -- I can't remember -- were opened with her, but it was precisely within the strategy that I mentioned before.
After June 1993, Ms Nava's name was removed from these accounts, and a new account was opened under the name of Juan Guillermo Gomez, together with my wife Paulina. An account in the name of Jose Gonzalez Cadena was opened at the Suizo [Schweizer?] bank, Geneva, and was closed last year. The accounts at Citibank Zurich were opened by Confidas, and right now I can't tell you how many there were. At Julius Baer Bank, I [illegible] the account numbers or other references for past or present accounts, or the other Dozart account. I seem to remember that another account was closed when Ms Margarita Nava ceased to participate and the funds were transferred to Banque Pictet.    
TO QUESTION 4B: I think there's an account at Julius Baer in my name; in the name of fictitious persons at Pictet: under the name of Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez; and there was an account under the name of Juan Jose Gonzalez Cadena, another pseudonym. Under company names: there is an account at Julius Baer under the name Novarone, I think, and there should also be an account under the name of Juan Manuel Gutierrez Gomez, a real person. Citibank New York set up a trust called Trocca through Confidas; I don't remember how many accounts there are under that name. Dozart is also a trust, originally set up by my present wife's former husband and containing the inheritance from the deceased first husband, whose name was Alfredo Diaz Ordaz. Those are all that I can remember at the moment.
TO QUESTION 4C: At Pictet, under the name of Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez; at the Schweizer [?] Bank in Geneva, under the name of Juan Jose Gonzalez Cadena; at Julius Baer and Citibank Geneva, and at the bank (whose name I can't recall) which has the Dozart account, under the name of Raul Salinas.
TO QUESTION 5: Right now, I'm not sure if it was in July 1989, at Pictet, through Ms Margarita Nava, and the account in the name of Juan Jose Gonzalez Cadena was opened during the same year, probably around the same time; the Citibank accounts were later, and the Julius Baer account was from the previous year
TO QUESTIONS 6 AND 7: [Answer identical to that to Question 5]
TO QUESTION 8: The first Pictet account was opened by Ms Margarita Nava, starting in 1993, I opened it under the name of Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez. At Citibank -- its New York office, specifically -- the entire strategy was devised by Ms Amy Eliot, who was acquainted with the first investors to make transfers. Ms Eliot's correspondent in Zurich was a woman named Melly, I recall, who no longer works for the bank; subsequently it was a woman of Spanish origin or with Spanish antecedents, because she spoke Spanish very well. I opened the account under my own name at Julius Baer in Mexico, with some Swiss representatives of the bank; I believe his name was Curtis, all of the Julius Baer accounts were opened with Mr Curtis. The Dozart account was opened in Los Angeles through a bank employee, but I don't recall the names of either the person or the bank.
TO QUESTION 9: I am the person empowered.
TO QUESTION 10: The total amount is on the order of $100 million, without being able to specify [illegible] and, in accordance with the strategy that I outlined previously, I cannot say that I am the owner or beneficiary of this total, but I repeat that, at the appropriate time, I will explain everything to the Swiss authorities. I am asking the Swiss Prosecuting Attorney [Carla del Ponte] to receive members of my family and my defense team so that they can speak with you privately, but I implore you to understand that, since I don't know what indictment they might level at me, I can't incriminate other people, since in reality I'm the manager of a strategy and not the owner of the money
The reason is that on the one hand, in exchange for my consultancy and promotion I could obtain resources that could cause me tax problems; in fact, a portion of the resources is for me, for my consulting and promotional work, but basically...because at the time that the accounts were opened under different names I wasn't familiar with the system that Citibank proposed to me, so fictitious names were used in order not to create a political scandal.
If I had previously known about Citibank's Confidas system I wouldn't have resorted to fictitious names. I kept the account at Pictet simply because of that bank's efficiency. But I can add that the name "Dozart" was inherited, that account already existed, and I opened the account at Julius Baer in my own name, so that actually I kept only one fictitious name, at Pictet. I've already explained why: Pictet is an excellent institution, very efficient, so I decided not to close that account. On the other hand, I closed the Juan Jose Gonzalez Cadena account and transferred the money to Julius Baer, under my own name.
TO QUESTION 12: As I recall, only the Juan Jose Gonzalez Cadena account was initially opened by depositing travelers' checks, all the rest were interbank transfers.
TO QUESTION 13: [See previous answer].
TO QUESTION 14: I think that I've answered in my previous replies, but I want to emphasize that I've never had the slightest connection with the crime of financing the drug trade. I repeat: that is false; the money comes from lawful sources and it's not possible to believe that cash movements that date back to over six years ago, no one would have believed back then that they were connected with drug trafficking if in fact they were so connected [sic]. The money is lawful in origin and has nothing to do with drug trafficking.
TO QUESTION 15: It's a trust, and I'd have to see the documents in order to spell out its stated purpose [illegible] I don't recall.
TO QUESTION 16: The transfer orders might have been issued by myself, by Ms Margarita Nava Sanchez, Mrs Paulina Castanon de Salinas, Ms Amy Eliot or in the fictitious names of Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez and Juan Jose Gonzalez Cadena; in any case, whoever participated was acting in accordance with my instructions, as I'm the person responsible for the accounts.
TO QUESTION 17: I don't recall the number of the account, but remembering the name, they belong to accounts managed through officers of Citibank and Confidas (and some other bank), but these are accounts that were opened by bank officers, I didn't open them directly. As a matter of fact, since I don't have all the files I couldn't even tell you today what names the officers used for opening the accounts.
TO QUESTION 17A: It is [was?] in Citibank, and my wife, Paulina Castanon de Salinas, and the bank officers who opened and managed it should have [had?] access.
TO QUESTION 17B: I replied to that in previous answers.
TO QUESTION 17C: I don't remember.
TO QUESTION 17D: That has already been answered.
TO QUESTION 17E: I don't recall at the moment, I neither confirm nor deny it.

TO QUESTION 18: I don't recall the number, but in fact it's the name that was used for accounts in Citibank Zurich.
TO QUESTION 18A: I can't specify the amount, but it should be around $45 million or a bit more.
TO QUESTION 18B: That has been answered previously, it's completely verifiable that the transfers took place through Citibank New York.
TO QUESTION 19A: I believe I've already answered that question.
TO QUESTION 19B: Let me point out that, as I said before, Ms Margarita Nava ceased to participate in June 1993, and if she has some other, later accounts not signed by Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez, they could be accounts independent of the ones that I was aware of.
TO QUESTION 20A: Because there was no reason to have two accounts, and it was important to stay with Banque Pictet.
TO QUESTION 20B: It's my impression that I didn't make the transfer directly myself, it's probable that Ms Margarita Nava Sanchez is the one who communicated with the Pictet officers, but there was no specific reason that I can recall, I simply seem to remember that having two accounts created useless work for the bank and for my supervision, so it was decided to keep just one, but I can't remember the arguments pro and con. I suppose they were opened under the same terms and with the same funds that were in the other two accounts.
It seems to me that it was a purely administrative decision, since it involved the same people and the same money. I don't recall if I traveled in February 1993, or if it was Ms Margarita Nava. I don't even remember if it was during that month when I took steps to exclude Ms Margarita Nava from the accounts, because it was in 1993 that I removed Ms Nava's name from the accounts, so maybe the reason for changing accounts was in order to leave Ms Nava out.
TO QUESTION 21: Although I can't confirm it, I believe that I don't have two accounts at Pictet. It's my impression that Ms Margarita Nava opened an independent account, but I might be wrong. I think I'm telling the truth.
TO QUESTION 22A: There are only two possibilities, I would have to look over the documents. An alternative would be that it was a transfer by the investors: that seems the most likely. Another alternative is that the New York office run by Ms Amy Eliot was managing some funds in London in accordance with her optimization strategy, but it was the same money from the same accounts.
So if [illegible] a transfer in addition to what existed as of that date, that could be the most viable [explanation], that it's one of the loans by the investors, but on the basis of the documents that I'm allowed to see at present, it's very [illegible] that it was an internal movement to optimize existing funds, since $25 million left Zurich on 8 June 1993 on an order from the Trocca administrators for investment in money market instruments, and twenty days later the same administrators decided to recall the money.

Here in the documents is the name of an officer, Plange-Rohner, and this type of movement is quite normal in the money market, there's nothing strange about trying to optimize resources on various financial markets. That was the duty of the administrators, and they had facilities for doing so.
TO QUESTION 23A: I recall having ordered this transfer [on June 30 1993] -- which I had my wife carry out -- to a friend of mine (I could give you his name at a later time) for a business deal, but it was a lawful business deal. At this moment I don't wish to give the person's name or identify the projected deal, I believe that it fell through, but I don't want to give more detail for the reasons that I stated at the outset. Seeing this document, I can tell you that the total amount transferred to this recipient was actually greater, this was just a portion, and there was nothing unlawful about it. I want to thank you for making documents that clarify things available to me. My family or my attorneys can give you the name of the recipient. He is a friend of mine, and the deal was a lawful one.
TO QUESTION 23B: I believe that I have answered that question.

TO QUESTION 23C: I've answered that in previous replies.

TO QUESTION 23D: For the transfer.

TO QUESTION 23E: That's what was decided by the participants.
TO QUESTION 24: Because no transfer could be made until the funds had been assembled: first they had to arrive, and then they could be transferred.
TO QUESTION 25: [A document is presented for examination by Salinas] I stated that when the $15 million was transferred, the total amount was higher, and these $5 million are part of this block that was moved. Various channels were used, as agreed upon by the participants, and we came to this agreement because the recipient wanted it this way. I believe that it would be very easy for the Swiss authorities to find out who the recipients were and learn that they are people who have nothing to do with drug trafficking. I'm sure that you can question them and find out that their business activity has nothing to do with the crime being investigated here.
TO QUESTION 26: [A document is presented for examination by Salinas] According to the dates and addressee, it's the continuation of the first $15 million transfer. If the Swiss authorities wish, they can verify that the $15 million and these $3 million reached the same recipient and that this recipient's business has nothing to do with the crime under investigation here.
TO QUESTION 27: On my instructions. This answer also covers Question 27A, since we were sure that -- since the money had nothing to do with drug trafficking -- the accounts hadn't been frozen. If I had had any doubt -- because, say, my accounts had actually been linked with drug
trafficking -- I would never have gotten my wife involved. We never expected that anyone would have lied and that the accounts might be frozen for the crime of drug trafficking.
What I did know was that the Mexican authorities were aware of the existence of a fake passport in the name of Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez and that the money had to be moved, but someone lied and made the completely baseless drug trafficking accusation. I also don't know what interests acted or had a role in making the Swiss government disclose its banking secrets; I know which interests are out there to persecute me politically, but I can't understand how it was possible for the Swiss government to disclose banking secrets without a shred of evidence, without any real foundation.

If I had any mistrust in the Swiss government or Swiss banking authorities I never would have sent my wife. Banking secrecy has been violated on account of a lie.
TO QUESTION 27B: Because we knew that the passport that the Mexican authorities were looking for was in that safe deposit box, along with documents concerning Citibank, and if the name Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez was known to the Mexican authorities, they had to be gotten out of that safe deposit box.
TO QUESTION 27C: The ultimate purpose of all of this money in the [illegible] that I have described was to promote business and employment in Mexico, and Ms Amy Eliot advised my wife to move those funds. I don't know what words were actually exchanged between Amy Eliot and my wife, but I suppose that Ms Eliot wanted to keep Citibank out of this problem or had some information about the drug trafficking accusation, I don't know, or she helped lead my wife into that trap, since we trusted Swiss banking secrecy and for this reason -- even after nine months of incarceration and investigation -- we weren't worried about moving these funds. There were two events which in large measure led to the decision to move the money: firstly, the fact that the Mexican authorities knew about the fake passport and, secondly, Mrs Amy Eliots' advice.

TO QUESTION 28: Luis del Valle is a tax expert who I have known for many years and whose services I have contracted on various occasions as a tax advisor. Basically, he's a person that I trust and an expert in tax matters.

TO QUESTION 28A: To accompany and advise my wife.

TO QUESTION 28B: I don't know what exact instructions Luis del Valle had, because I haven't spoken with him for ten months, but generally speaking he was to assist my wife.
TO QUESTION 29: I already explained the reason that Antonio Castanon opened an account at the beginning of this hearing. I'm enormously grateful to him, since he has put aside his work and his responsibilities and, at this critical moment, he had to count on a mechanism that would leave him financially secure to provide continuing support for my wife, Paulina. Both Paulina and Antonio are part of my defense team and they are devoting all of their time and energy to show up the lies which have led to my indictment for the crime of homicide.
The mechanism for providing this financial security was by depositing a large sum to his account (but very small in relation to the total from a group of investors that I could identify at a  

later time), I don't know whether or not he made a transfer, but the intention was to deposit a large sum to his account, about $1 million, for the purposes that I described.
I'm sure that Paulina and Antonio have made statements in this regard; I'm doing likewise, because they are people that tell the truth. I don't know why a safe deposit box was rented, but I suppose it was for keeping documents. I don't have the foggiest notion whether transfers were made or not, since I've had no contact with my wife.

TO QUESTION 30: I'm surprised that this business should appear in an inquiry formulated by the Swiss authorities, because I don't recall that it ever actually operated: it's sole purpose was to give Margarita Nava a business reference. I think it was more a matter of vanity than anything else, since this business never attempted or accomplished anything. At the beginning, when this business was set up, there was an idea that it would engage in some -- lawful -- transactions, but I don't recall that it ever carried out any operations, nor do I remember when it was shut down, since it was managed by Margarita Nava Sanchez.

When it was set up I believe that its registered office was on Calle de Explanada -- I can't recall the number -- but I can't say this for sure because this Explanada address was given as a reference for Margarita Nava and Juan Guillermo Gomez Gutierrez -- it must be 1230 Explanada -- but I want to point out that the Mexican authorities have attempted to link this address or property with the homicide currently under investigation and have fabricated phony evidence in this regard. I have already stated and denounced this before the judge, but none of this money has anything to do with crimes or misdemeanors, so I repeat: the crime under investigation is without foundation.
TO QUESTION 31: It's a brokerage firm. I've had deposits in InverMexico which were declared and which were liquidated some time ago, I don't recall when. I believe that the InverMexico group is still in operation, but I was simply a customer and I don't see why this should fall within the scope of the Swiss authorities' investigation.

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION 32: Do you hold, represent or manage accounts under your true name, fictitious names or corporate names in countries other than Switzerland?
TO QUESTION 32: I have to say that, as I understand the question, I do not hold, manage or handle accounts in other countries, except for Mexico. I don't know whether any of the members of this group of investors might have foreign accounts which have nothing to do with me but, in the tenor of the strategy that I described here, this banking took place in Switzerland and with trust in Swiss banking secrecy -- banking secrecy that has been violated due to lies, because I repeat: neither I nor any of the people mentioned have the slightest connection with the crime of financing drug trafficking.
This is a false accusation, and this lie was the basis for violation of Swiss banking secrecy and for the arrest of two innocent people.
I implore the Swiss authorities to look into the series of maneuvers carried out to persecute me and my family, to make a fair evaluation of the absolutely innocent involvement of Paulina Castanon de Salinas and Antonio Castanon and to immediately establish a less severe, more benevolent and fair situation for those two individuals.

There is no crime of drug trafficking; the strategy that I described will be presented before the Swiss authorities when they permit me to do so, and before the Mexican authorities when a formal indictment is handed down, since things have proceeded to present without a formal indictment, no trial has been opened for the crime under investigation here. Once again, I request a more lenient situation, justice and complete exoneration for Antonio and Paulina Castanon, since they have been detained in the investigation of a nonexistent crime

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION 33: [Line missing] manage or administer them?

ANSWER: In my answer to your previous question, I thought that you were asking me whether there were other accounts in addition to those already mentioned in this interrogation. There aren't any others. The accounts in the US and London already mentioned are part of the same group of accounts that exist here; that is, they are basically part of the group of accounts structured, organized and managed by Citibank. That's the way Citibank New York and Citibank Zurich structured and organized them. They have facilities for opening accounts anywhere and don't need my direct participation to do so.

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION 34: What benefits did you receive for managing this group of accounts?

ANSWER: The benefits that I received have to be divided into two parts, since the goal was -- and remains --to generate business with this money, and I was to share in the profits when deals were closed, depending on the structure and financing of each deal.

Moreover, taxes would have to be paid on those deals when they went through -- here in Mexico, obviously. On the other hand, even though I might have a tax problem, but just to show the Swiss authorities my good intentions in this interrogation, significant profits were realized in the course of time, and I was able to -- and actually did -- make use of this money, which I received for the management and consulting that I provided for each of these investors. There actually were significant profits, and I made use of them, and I repeat that I'm informing the Swiss government of this to demonstrate the truthfulness of my entire statement, even though it could result in a tax problem for me.

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION 35: Was the group of investors which you have referred to in this statement legally constituted in any manner?
ANSWER: No. But I want to make the following frank observations. The article which was read to me, Article 127bis of the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure, states that I have the right to receive all information concerning this judicial investigation, and I request that a copy of my entire casefile be turned over to my lawyers, together with copies of all documents in the possession of the Swiss authorities, since these proceedings are being conducted under Mexican law and the law gives me this right.
So I'm requesting copies of all information received by the Swiss authorities concerning this case. Of course, I'm also requesting the information that led to intervention by the US authorities. That is, since it is guaranteed to me by law, I wish to know what accusations or information were brought before the American authorities tasked with investigating drug trafficking.
Article 128 says that I have the right to know the identity of the plaintiff, so I have the right to know who falsely accused me or linked me the crime of financing drug trafficking. I therefore request that the Mexican authorities represented here inform me who was the complainant of this crime of drug trafficking and who falsely linked me [to this crime].
According to the rights that were read to me at the beginning of this hearing, I have the right to communicate with anyone I choose for my appropriate defense. In accordance with this right, I request that I be able to communicate immediately with my wife, Paulina Castanon de Salinas. In conclusion, I want to add that -- as I have pointed out -- I made mistakes, but I never engaged in criminal activity.

I made procedural mistakes, and I accept responsibility for them, but any contact with drug trafficking is absolutely false. The fact that the accounts still exist and that no attempt was made to erase them shows that I had no intention of concealing the movements [of money] from the Swiss authorities, because the origin of the money is lawful and we always trusted Swiss banking secrecy. I also want to add that, I thanked God when I learned that Antonio and my wife Paulina were detained in Switzerland, because I have absolute confidence in Swiss justice. I have only two more observations to make.
First, I request that the Swiss authorities exercise great objectivity and care in examining any evidence that the Mexican authorities might submit with regard to drug trafficking, because I have proof that the Mexican authorities invent and fabricate evidence. So I request that you, Madam Prosecuting Attorney, verify the origin of any such item of evidence.

I also want you to understand that President Carlos Salinas crossed a number of enormous private interests when he modernized this country, and what is happening today -- the persecution and attack against me and my family-- is part of the price paid for modernizing and transforming Mexico.
I knew that this visit by the Swiss authorities was a sign from the hand of God, I'm truly thankful that these events took place in Switzerland, because I reiterate my confidence in Swiss law and Swiss officialdom. Once again, I submit that the explanation [illegible] is at the disposal of the Swiss authorities, and I request that you allow my family and my defense enter into direct contact and communication with you. Thank you for listening to me.

[End of text]

 Leaked transcript: Frontline


  1. Chivis can we get a followup on the status of the "QUEEN OF THE PACIFIC" what happened when the plane or bus landed in matamoros who was there to pik her up just curious.

    1. It didn't, it landed in Tucson and she got deported to Nogales, Sonora. Her homebase is obregon.

  2. Damn it seems like every politician/president is in it for themselves and not the people. I feel bad for Mexico. If there laws were strictly enforced it would be the best country. Right behind the good ol' US of course.

  3. When reading this sitting on the north side of the border you can easily be inclined to think:

    thank god it's not like that here

    Unfortunately it is like that here and it is slowly but surely getting worse by the day. Consider that NOT ONE SINGLE sitting bank executive has even been accused:
    - in the mortage fraud scandal which came to light in 2006
    - in the Wells Fargo USD 1 billion money drug laundering case
    - in the HSBC USD 100s of million drug money laundering case

    That the same impunity exists here as down south is obvious if you just open your eyes.

    The most obvious sign of the similarities between the two nations is the meaningless of the (so called) democratic process: it does not matter which party wins, nothing changes since the political class remains the same.

    Where Mexico is today we will be in 20-30 years.

  4. Damn long but good u alls opinion u think this could happen again in the present talking bout 3 very small kuds,but of rich politically connected parents killing the maid(more than likely of poor,indeginious background) n getting TOTALLY scott free.?

  5. To think that some reports had the PRD candidate, Cuahtemoc Cardenas, winning the 1988 Mexico presidential election over Carlos Salinas de Gortari. That through fraud that is all to familiar with elections in Mexico the PRI was able to steal the Presidency. Maybe history would have taken Mx. through a different course. But the rest as they say is history.

    The cases against Raul Salinas de Gortari had more to do with embezzlement and not drug trafficking - maybe money laundering if at all. I think with the government posts RSG had he carried out thefts of large amounts of government funds; while CSG probably looked the other way, although he might have a hand in the theft, while RSG carried the thefts. That is what illicit activity RSG and CSG had carried out during CSG presidency. That and some shady business deals through stock market investments such as insider trading perhaps. During the Bush presidency shady private equity dealings occured, equity stock offerings that is not accessible to the public, in which investers enriched themselves through company mergers. To make a long story short, CSG, through his brother, looted govt. funds, in the manner Granier carried out as governor of Tabasco. As a protege of CSG, will the same be expected of EPN. Only time will tell. Note: All the presidents from De la Madrid on to Calderon were business majors at Harvard or Yale.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist if you want, however CSG, RSG, and their friend did not kill Manuela.

  6. Pinches culos its fucked up haters just because i got more info than you you hate

    1. who are you?why do they hate you?who hates you?what is the information that you have?are you just too pretty?

  7. The is no finality of judgment in the mexican judicial system. If one of the political elite is caught up in corruption, one need only wait it out for the political winds to change in a more favorable direction. Then, all problems blow away.

  8. La justicia en mexico es una mierda, todos los politicos son unos corruptos, comprados y vendidos. Por eso el pais esta como esta; la mierda del PRI es causante de la mayoria de los problemas sociales del pais, ellos
    Son los causantes de que el crimen organizado creciera a grandes escalas. Si todo ese dinero que se roban estos putos presidentes, mejor lo invirtieran en la educacion de nuestros jovenes y crearan fuentes de trabajo, la juventud no tendria porque unirse al crimen organizado. Los politicos mexicanos son unas lacras, corruptos y mediocres.

    1. Raul iva a invertir en mexico para crear trabajos como inversionista extranjero con otro's nombres ficticios para question no anduvieran hablando mal de el ni de su hermano ni de lo que se robaron...

  9. I was just to disgusted to even try to finish reading and that was after reading 5 paragraphs!

  10. Every mexican president has screwed mexico and its people. If u want to be a millionare become part of the political class and thru corruption and embezlement ull be rich.mexico government is shit, the people put up with it because thats all they know. Im mexican and it really breaks my heart to see mexico go thru this.

  11. From the police to the vialidad, to the corrupt attorneys and judges, the aduanas (customs). To the corruption in all levels of government. I have been saying and writing in other forums and blogs that the reason people take these jobs is not for the pay. It is for what they can get over and above, which is more then their pay. I was talking to a friend at a party in Chihuahua about two weeks ago. He is vialidad (traffic police). He said he can get as much as $200 to $300 dollars per day in bribes. I have been stopped for going under the speed limit and lied to for money. A familiar thing that happens to Americans driving in Mexico. This is a little off topic, but it starts at the top and travels to the bottom, into every sector of government. This is Mexico and the way the government functions here. It will never change without revolution and that will not happen because the government has hobbled the people with its gun laws'and brutality to those that speak out. Those that speak out and get too well known disappear or are killed.

  12. There is a online news report that the queen had left in a private jet. Very vague info, but I will look for it and post it on the BB forum.

    We will never know what exactly it is that the queen did. Shit for all we know Chapo probably sent his private jet down there to pick her up.


  13. Yes, the problem of Mexico like so many LatAm countries is it's status quo levels of extreme political corruption. Just about everyone in a position of govt authority has their hand stuck out.

    One wouldn't have to join a Cartel, 'just to feed the family', if the politicians wouldn't STEAL the general fund monies; which are for road repairs, food programs, water systems, schools, infrastructure upkeep, and such which actually provide jobs. Not to forget fire and police services which could be paid better.

    But NO ... they just steal, and steal, and steal ... with impunity.

  14. Let those bastards steal and plunder all they want. I just want to see how much is in their pockets when they die and go to hell to give Satan blow jobs for all eternity....

  15. Que gentecita, pues, y bien podridos desde la infancia. Lo que ha sufrido el pueblo y la raza como los Mejicanos ni esta escrito, hoy dia, y atras con los hermanitos Salinas. Sin ellos, el NAFTA se huberia muerto de causas naturales, por ejemplo. i hope this link to PBS FRONTLINE 1997, works! The program takes a good look at murder & money in Mexico from the perspective of Carlos Salinas & the Salinas' family tree.

  16. Seems they had a lot of going on in Switzerland. I find it interesting that they had children studying there while druglord Amado Carrillo Fuentes had his son studying there to he also had millions of dollars in bank accounts there. On that note i think it was Amado the one connected to and giving money to Raul think it was a part of him having over 100 million dollars in the bank accounts there in Switzerland.

    1. El gober precioso and his precious son don't they have money and residences over there?

  17. Hopefully someone just kills him.

  18. The politicians in Mexico are the real drug lords.

  19. Only lifting the prohibition on all drugs will end this and put them out of business. I would rather incarcerate and dry out chronic addicts than see half of Mexico go up in flames and the US go down the drain of coruption.

  20. this is what i call real ORGANIZED CRIME, the Mexican crime families who have for decades ruled mexico, they themselves set up the system so that in the future they would be aquitted from all charges, it is a handfull of Mexican crime families who decide everything, which polititians make it to what positions and so forth, look at them Proceso posted a story about them gettin together in Spain, a beautiful town where prominent Mexican bussinessmen hold their yearly randevouz, that's where they plot and plan the future of Mexico and the Mexicans, Sure Mexicans the first thing that come out of their mouths is "ho! well there is corrup'tion everywhere, yes even in the Unites States" what they fail to recognize is that while there is corruption everywhere as they say, it is NEVER at the scale of Mexico, aquitting this guy of his crimes against the people of Mexico, and plus giving him back all the millions that he stole, properties etc, would be the equivalent of setting Bernie Madoff free and giving him back everything that he stole plus restitutions, taking whatever little money from all the people that he swindled and giving it to him with a slap on the shoulder....that would never happen, there are still some decent people in positions of power who would not let this happen, where as in Mexico seems to me that everybody is in on this, even the common folk who are complicit by being silent, let this one slide they problably say, just another one, they are probably used to it by now, all the hate that they must fell from seeing all this on your face corruption and impunity, witnessing all these criminal politico, narco empresario families enrich themselves while they starve, they...well, they just keep it all inside.

  21. And the billions of dollars that enter the U.S. in drug money, you all think that Americans politicians do not profit from it?
    Show me a person that believes that and I will show you an idiot.


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