14 | NOV | 2019
PGR modifies organized crime charges against Javier Duarte
Former governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, being taken away by police officers in Mexico City with a smile on his face - Photo: Luis Cortes/EL UNIVERSAL

PGR modifies organized crime charges against Javier Duarte

22/08/2018
13:28
Diana Lastiri
Mexico City
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The Attorney General restructured accusations against Duarte, potentially reducing his sentence

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) restructured their accusations against the former governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, to modify his organized crime charges.

Around 23:30 hours on Tuesday 21 August, the government body formally presented its accusations against the former governor for organized crime and embezzlement.

The changing of organized crime charges, for which the sentence would be of 20 to 40 years, to criminal association charges, which lead to 5-10 years of imprisonment, is due to the fact that the proper conditions haven’t been meet with regard to the law’s guidelines regarding this crime.

However, since in the month of July 2017, when he was linked to a criminal process for organized crime charges, as well as conducting operations with illegally obtained resources (money laundering), the former statesman was subject to preventive detention justified by the latter accusation, which implied a risk of escape, he would currently be unable to request a substitution to the custiodial sentence.

Ever since, Duarte de Ochoa has remained locked away at the North Prison of Mexico City and, according to his lawyer, Ricardo Sánchez Reyes Retana, as soon as the judge notifies the defense of the PGR’s accusation, the institution has no more than 10 days to respond and present proof.

Furthermore, the judge will set a date for the intermediate stage hearing, in which he is meant to consider all proof and decide the crimes for which he will order the commencement of an oral trial.
 

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Duarte was linked to process because, according to all 82 elements of proof presented by the PGR between the months of December 2011 and November 2016, he had embezzled 438 million pesos for the creation of phantom companies, the acquisition of both personal and immovable property, jewelry, and bank deposits in Switzerland.

The investigation against him arose out of a federal lawsuit filed by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), but the statesman remained a fugitive for six months until April 2017, when he was detained in Guatemala, from where he was extradited in July last year.

The PGR signaled that their investigation had led to the detection of bank deposits to several bank accounts in Switzerland, which led them to establish an international cooperation relationship with the Swiss Confederation to request information on the money trail within the European country.

This case led to the sentence of sisters Nadia and Elia Arzate Peralta who, according to PGR, formed the variable capital corporation Brades, which was used for money transfers of public money to Duarte de Ochoa’s personal bank accounts.

The sisters were sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment since they admitted their responsibility in the money laundering crime.

Some of the most important evidence presented by the Attorney General’s Office were the testimonies of Alfonso Ortega López, Arturo Bermúdez Zurita, former secretary of Veracruz Public Security, and José Juan Janeiro Rodríguez; several ownership deeds related to the buying and selling of 21 land parcels in Lerma, Campeche were also presented.
 

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