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Former president’s brother acquitted

August 1, 2013

RaulSalinas

A federal judge has exonerated Raul Salinas de Gortari of all charges against him and ruled that a substantial fortune in seized assets be returned to him.

Salinas, the brother of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who ruled Mexico from 1988 to 1994, spent a decade in prison until 2005. He was first indicted for laundering around 160 million dollars, said to be the product of drug trafficking and embezzlement, in 1995.

The following year Salinas was accused of being behind the 1994 disappearance of Manuel Muñoz Rocha, the federal deputy for Tamaulipas, but the charges were eventually dropped as Muñoz’s remains were never found. Then, in 1999, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for masterminding the assassination of his brother-in-law Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, then secretary general of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1994.

Salinas was released from prison and had his Swiss bank accounts thawed in June 2005, when he was acquitted of Ruiz’s murder and cleared of money laundering. This week, a federal judge in Mexico City overturned the remaining charges against him, formally exonerating Salinas of embezzling 224 million pesos.

The judge ruled that at least 24 properties in Baja California, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro and the State of Mexico be returned to Salinas. The judge also ordered that the National Banking and Securities Commission unfreeze six bank accounts and six checking accounts that belonged to him.

The federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) appealed against Salinas’s acquittal this week and a higher court will now review the decision.

Raul Salinas maintains that the charges against him were politically motivated, the result of a feud between his brother Carlos and his successor, President Ernesto Zedillo, who reportedly ordered Raul’s arrest in 1995.

Critics of Carlos Salinas have long suggested that he retains a strong influence over President Enrique Peña Nieto and the decision to exonerate his brother just eight months after the PRI reentered Los Pinos will only reinforce this impression.

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