Mexico blocks several bank accounts linked to La Luz Del Mundo church

On May 15, the church paid homage to Naasón Joaquín at Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts; nevertheless, Mexico is a secular state and religious events can not take place at public buildings

Mexico blocks several bank accounts linked to La Luz Del Mundo church
Church leader Naasón Joaquín García is currently in prison in the U.S. - Photo: Fernando Carranza García/CUARTOSCURO.COM
English 04/03/2020 15:47 Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English Mexico City Pedro Villa y Caña, Alberto Morales Actualizada 15:54
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Santiago Nieto, the head of Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), announced the Mexican government blocked six bank accounts that belong to members of the La Luz del Mundo church, led by Naasón Joaquín García, as a result of child pornography and sexual exploitation. In total, the bank accounts amount to MXN $359 million and USD $1.5 million.

During a morning news conference, Santiago Nieto said that besides abusing minors, the so-called Light of the World Church also asked worshipers to donate their belonging to the religious sect:

“This case has to do with six people linked to a religious group where there were donations that took place in the church, as well as a child pornography practice and sexual exploitation (…) the amounts blocked are MXN $359 million and USD $1.5 million, as well as MXN $82,000.”

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Moreover, Santiago Nieto informed about another case linked to child pornography in social media and said authorities blocked the accounts of a man who sold explicit pictures of minors on Facebook.

On June 4, 2019, Naasón Joaquín García was arrested in the U.S. and charged with human trafficking, production of child pornography, forcible rape of a minor, and other felonies. According to U.S. authorities, Naasón Joaquín and accomplices committed these crimes between 2015 and 2018 while leading La Luz Del Mundo.

Some of the individuals named in the complaint are Alondra Ocampo, Azalea Rangel Melendez, and Susana Medina Oaxaca. Alondra Ocampo and Susana Medina Oaxaca were also arrested.

A U.S. court set bail for Naasón Joaquín at USD $25 million.

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Who is Naasón Joaquín?

Naasón Joaquín was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco in 1969. His followers refer to him as the “Apostle of Jesus Christ” and has been the minister of The Light of the World Church in Mexico and the U.S. for over 22 years.

The Light of the World Church is a religious organization with presence in 58 countries and has over 15,000 churches in the world. This church describes itself as the restoration of primitive Christianity. Female members are required to follow a strict dress code that includes long skirts and head coverings during religious services.

Scandal at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City

On May 15, The Light of the World Church paid homage to Naasón Joaquín on his 50th birthday at Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts; nevertheless, since Mexico is a secular state, government-owned venues can not be rented for religious purposes.

After harsh criticism, the INBAL denied it was a religious event and insists that it was a cultural event.

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Ties to Mexican Politicians

Several Mexican politicians attended the May 15 event at the Palace of Fine Arts, including Martí Batres, Félix Salgado Macedonio, Sergio Mayer, and Julio Ramón Menchaca Salazar from Morena; Omar Obed Maceda Luna and Juan Manuel Fócil Pérez from the PRD; Roberto Moya Clemente from the PAN, and Gabriela Benavides Cobos from the PVEM, and Kehila Alzair Escalante from the MC, among others.

Authorities from the National Fine Arts and Literature Institute (INBAL) also attended, including Laura Ramírez Rasgado, the Undersecretary of the INBAL; José Agustín Ortiz Pinchetti, electoral attorney; Celia Marín Sasaki, a magistrate from Mexico City's Supreme Court.

Moreover, it was revealed that a Mexican Senator, Israel Zamora Guzmán, from the PVEM, paid MXN $158,000 to host the event at the Palace of Fine Arts.

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