Former Chihuahua governor César Duarte is denied parole at his first U.S. hearing

Former governor César Duarte will remain in custody in the U.S.

Former Chihuahua governor César Duarte is denied parole at his first U.S. hearing
César Duarte was arrested after years on the run - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 10/07/2020 19:01 Mexico City Max Aub & Ibeth Mancinas/EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 19:01

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During the first hearing at a U.S. court following César Duarte’s arrest held in Miami, federal judge Lauren Louis said it is a case of an international extradition request and that the former Chihuahua governor will remain in custody during the process. Moreover, the judge proposed to schedule the full extradition hearing for July 23, 24, or 27.

In a virtual hearing, that took place at Miami’s South District Judge, Duarte had a cellphone in which he heard the translation of what the judge was telling him.

The former governor was handcuffed and was wearing a beige and gray uniform; he was not wearing a mask.

The judge read the charges against him, described the crimes, and told him there is a warrant to take him to Mexico.

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UIF goes after César Duarte
Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) presented two complaints at Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) against Chihuahua’s former governor César Duarte over money laundering.

Federal sources confirmed that both complaints were presented in early 2020 and stemmed from information sent by the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office to the UIF regarding a millionaire fund diversión performed during Duarte Jázquez’s administration in the state.

According to the investigation, the former governor used shell companies and frontmen to divert resources to bank accounts linked to him.

Hence, since 2019, the UIF has blocked César Duarte’s accounts as well as those accounts linked to his frontmen who worked through shell companies to divert the resources.

Duarte had properties in the U.S. and Mexico
During a working tour in Hidalgo de Parral, the current Chihuahua governor Javier Corral Jurado informed that, to date, the office hired by the local government has detected a total of 50 properties owned by the former governor César Duarte Jáquez.

At his visit in Duarte’s hometown, Coral Jurado endorsed his commitment to the people of Chihuahua to achieve Duarte’s extradition, to whom 10 properties had been detected at first, nevertheless, he said, authorities know that he owns 50 properties in Mexico, Texas, News Mexico, and Florida, some of which are under the name of companies or frontmen,

Coral Jurado explained that the discovery of these properties was in charge of the law firm hired in the U.S. by the state government, which will be paid until the properties are recovered.

As a matter of fact, according to the available information, Duarte Jázquez was in a business he owns called Autopartes Chávez when he was arrested on Wednesday after years on the run.

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In 2017, Chihuahua authorities issued an arrest warrant against him after discovering public debt has reached MXN 48,000 million, embezzlement for MXN 6,000 million, and the diversion of MXN 250 million for the PRI’s electoral campaign in 2015.

Back in 2017, the Federal Prosecutors’ Office asked the Interpol to search for Duarte in 190 countries after Chihuahua authorities asked federal authorities for help to find the former Governor. 

In January 2020, President López Obrador said the United States had agreed to extradite Duarte, who is wanted on corruption, money laundering, and illicit enrichment charges.

Duarte, who governed Chihuahua for the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has previously denied wrongdoing. His successor as governor, Javier Corral, has said that he believed Duarte fled to neighboring Texas.

“Our commitment to this matter, in this cause to which we are committed, will remain until the last day of my administration. We will pursue complete justice for Chihuahua,” said Corral Jurado. He stressed that his priority is to recover the looted money and return it to Chihuahua’s citizens, mainly by recovering the properties that were purchased with public funds.

During the inauguration at a folk art gallery, the governor was congratulated by Parral’s mayor Alfredo Lozoya Santillán, who asserted not everyone in Parral is like the former PRI governor, who had part of his ranches and properties located in the vicinity of this municipality.

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