Attorney General returns US$7.8 million in funds embezzled by Javier Duarte

US$19.2 million out of over US$800 million embezzled by the fugitive ex-Governor Javier Duarte while in office have been recovered by Mexico's chief attorney general to date.
The head of the Attorney's General Office seen here handing Veracruz's governor a check for 172 million pesos (7.8 million dollars) during a televised ceremony. (Photo: IRVIN OLIVARES / EL UNIVERSAL)
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Mexico's chief attorney general (PGR) returned 172 million pesos (7.8 million dollars) to the incumbent Governor of Veracruz, Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, in money recovered from public funds that were embezzled by ex-governor turned fugitive of the law, Javier Duarte de Ochoa.

Raúl Cervantes Andrade, the head of the Attorney General's Office, delivered two checks to the Veracruz state treasury, which included 9% in legal interest.

In total, 421 million pesos (19.2 million dollars) have been recovered as part of a joint effort by the Attorney General's Office and Mexico's Finance and Public Credit Ministry (SHCP), and two businessmen who decided to return the money voluntarily.

The rest of the money that will be returned to the Veracruz state government as part of this deal will be made in 12 monthly installments, plus legal interest.

Arturo Elías Baltrán, the Attorney General's Solicitor General for Legal and International Affairs, said that the businessmen decided to settle the amount they owed to the state government in advance and he assured they had been deceived by a company linked to the fugitive ex-governor, a loan and shares.

“Upon finding out about the scam, both businessmen presented themselves voluntarily to the Attorney General's Office and immediately handed over 250 million pesos [11.4 million dollars]. They were given the option of repaying the money in 12 monthly installments, but both companies decided to pay it in advance in order to avoid paying the high 9% legal interest rate that would have applied,” explain Elías Beltrán.

Governor Yunes Linares thanked the Attorney General's hard work and announced that the money would go towards funding state social programs, namely state health services.

The governor also said he's made a pledge to collaborate with federal authorities in searching for the fugitive ex-Governor Duarte de Ochoa. 

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