Rosario Robles is accused of deviation of public resources
Rosario Robles Berlanga arriving to the Reclusorio Sur on Thursday – Photo: Ivan Stephens/EL UNIVERSAL

Rosario Robles is accused of deviation of public resources

09/08/2019
14:14
Mexico City
Diana Lastiri & Pedro Villa y Caña
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Rosario Robles was granted a writ of amparo that protects her from any arrest warrant issued against her on both last Thursday's and next Monday's hearings

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A federal judge granted more time for the defense of Rosario Robles to gather evidence on her favor before defining if she will be bound over to trial or not for the improper exercise of public service.

As she had announced, at 10:00h of this Thursday, the former director of Sedesol and Sedatu, Rosario Robles Berlanga, arrived at the Reclusorio Sur to attend the hearing where the FGR would accuse her of the alleged crime of improper exercise of public service.

The supervisory judge Jesús Delgadillo Padierna, from the Federal Center for Crime Justice of the Reclusorio Sur, scheduled for next Monday, August 12th at 18:00h to continue de initial hearing because the defense of the former official asserted that it will present evidence, among which are interviews to witnesses.

In the initial hearing, which lasted 7.5 hours, Mexico Attorney General’s Office (FGR) accused Robles Berlanga of improper exercise of public service because, allegedly, during her time in front of the Social Development Ministry (Sedesol) and the Agrarian, Territorial, and Urban Development Ministry (Sedatu), the former official incurred omissions.

Allegedly, since June 2014, when she was the head of Sedesol, and until her exit from Sedatu in 2018, she had knowledge about her collaborators from both agencies binding agreements irregularly with state universities, local TV stations, social communication offices, and technological institutes of the country.

The Master Fraud is one of the most notorious frauds in Mexican history as it allegedly involves 11 federal agencies, which were allegedly used to divert millions during the Peña Nieto administration.

The three main alleged accomplices of the massive fraud were the Social Development Ministry (Sedesol), led by Rosario Robles; the National Bank of Public Works and Services (Banobras), and Pemex, then led by Emilio Lozoya.

Through 26 legal instruments of this kind, both ministries allegedly paid millionaire amounts to those contracted for services that were not even required and were never performed, asserted the prosecutors.

Those behaviors, performed by third parties, generated harm to the federal treasury for MXN $5,073, 358,846 and, according to the FGR, Rosario Robles did not inform former president Enrique Peña Nieto of the alleged deviation of public resources, despite being required by law to do so.

Among the evidence used by the FGR to charge Robles Berlanga are the testimonies of three of her collaborators.

They are José Antolino Orozco Martínez, María del Carmen Gutiérrez Medina and Marcos Salvador Ibarra Infante, who were under the command of Rosario Robles in Sedesol and Sedatu.

 

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With the evidence, the FGR considered that Robles incurred repeatedly and intentionally in omissions with which she allowed and continued causing that the third parties, who bound the agreements with which the millionaire deviations were done, kept doing things such as the simulation of contracts, impersonation of officials, and forgery of signatures in Sedesol and Sedatu.

Hence, the FGR pointed her out as the direct perpetrator of the improper exercise of public service and requested to bind her over to trial.

Although at the beginning the supervisory judge asserted that he would solve the legal status in the same proceeding, Robles Berlanga’s lawyers requested more time to gather evidence, such as interviews with the witnesses the FGR has against her.

Accordingly, the judge defined next Monday at 18:00 to decide if Robles will be bound over to trial for the offense accused by the prosecutors, which does not merit preventive custody.

By the end of the proceeding, Robles took the floor to assert that she will attend the new appointment.

“I will be here just as today, voluntarily. I was out of the country and when I heard of this situation I came back immediately and I came voluntarily. I’ll be here next Monday at the scheduled hour,” said the former minister.

Among the main collaborators of Robles who allegedly signed the irregular agreements Emilio Zebadúa stands out, who was her senior official in Sedesol and Sedatu.

In the hearing, Robles’ defense revealed that Emilio Zebadúa used an “amparo” before the Third District Judge of Chiapas, who granted him a provisional temporary suspension that protects him from being arrested, even though the FGR has not confirmed the existence of an arrest warrant against him.

In addition, prosecutors revealed that in this case there are at least three more investigation files about to be prosecuted and Rosario Robles is directly linked to one of them.

Additionally, Julio Hernández Barros, Robles’ attorney, said briefly to EL UNIVERSAL that the writ of amparo “was processed yesterday as a precautionary measure from any arrest that could have happened.”

The Sixth District “Amparo” Crime Judge of Mexico City granted the temporary suspension for which Robles will have to pay MXN $100,000. This measure will also protect Robles in next Monday’s hearing.
 

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