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UAEH: Gerardo Sosa Castelán faces organized crime and money laundering charges

The board of trustees at Hidalgo’s Autonomous University has been under investigation since 2019

UAEH: Gerardo Sosa Castelán faces organized crime and money laundering charges
Investigations indicate Sosa Casteán and others used a shell company to divert millions - Photo: Carlos Zepeda/EL UNIVERSAL
English 02/09/2020 14:20 Diana Lastiri Mexico City Actualizada 14:34

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The Attorney General’s Office charged Gerardo Sosa Castelán, the head of the Board of Trustees at Hidalgo’s Autonomous University (UAEH), with organized crime and money laundering. Prosecutors also charged another three suspects in connection with the case. They will remain in prison. 

Investigations indicate Sosa Castelán and others used a shell company to divert over MXN 58 million.

A judge will determine whether or not the suspects are bound over for trial on September 5. 

Authorities arrested Sosa Castelán and the three suspects on August 31. 

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According to investigations, Sosa Castelán perpetrated transactions with illegally obtained resources worth up to MXN 58,200,000 through several companies, including Contabilidad del Siglo XXI; Pachuca Sociedad Civil; Inmobiliaria Constructora y Arrendadora Yolo; Contabilidad Automatizada Hidalgo, and Eficiencia en Negocios y Asociados.

The resources were distributed among several other companies. However, sources close to the investigation said some of these companies legally received money from the UAEH and then distributed it among other companies to hide the resources.

Federal Prosecutors argue Castelán triangulated university resources through Contabilidad del Siglo XXI, a shell company. 

EL UNIVERSAL previously reported the Attorney General’s Office obtained four arrest warrants against Castelán’s two daughters. 

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Embezzlement at Hidalgo's university

The board of trustees at Hidalgo’s Autonomous University has been under investigation since May 2019, when the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) discovered Sosa Castelán had incurred in irregularities. 
 
According to sources close to the investigation, authorities arrested Sosa Castelán after the UIF filed three lawsuits against him, where the government department accuses the politician of carrying out transactions with illegally obtained resources, embezzlement, and tax fraud. 
 
Moreover, the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) indicates Gerardo Sosa Castelán hasn’t been able to prove the origin of MXN 151 million. Furthermore, the UIF accused Castelán of creating a money-laundering network and reports the UAEH hired these companies. 
 
The Financial Intelligence Unit blocked the six bank accounts that contain the MXN 151 million. Although the resources belong to the Hidalgo university, Sosa Castelán controls the money due to his role as the president of the board of trustees. 

In March 2019, EL UNIVERSAL reported several universities were under investigation over money-laundering allegations.

The UAEH was being investigated by the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), under the Finance Ministry, for allegedly laundering USD 150 million.
 
“It has come to our attention that the Autonomous University of Hidalgo received resources from Switzerland through bank accounts in 22 countries,” Santiago Nieto, the head of the UIF, said in an interview.
 
Back then, Nieto argued that it was important to maintain secrecy in the analysis and disclosure of information, and refused to provide further details on the investigation so as not to undermine the ongoing inquiry.
 
The UIF announced that it had blocked several bank accounts of a state university for alleged money laundering on February 26, 2019.
 
Following a report issued by Mexico’s financial system on February 22, 2019, the UIF discovered that the university had received around USD 150 million. Simultaneously, the institution responded to a request by an international agency calling for Mexico’s cooperation on that particular case.

In 2019, the Hidalgo university released a statement claiming that the Mexican government had failed to follow due process in the investigation and denied the accusations. Furthermore, Adolfo Pontigo Logola, the university dean, stated that the institution would cooperate with authorities, though he warned that the UAEH would take legal action to protect the institution’s dignity.

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