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Mexico’s biggest soccer legend accused of laundering drug money

August 10, 2017

The US government sanctioned Rafael Márquez and nine businesses that are linked to him.

Mexicans were shocked to see a familiar scourge taint a national hero’s image on Wednesday, when the U.S. government accused soccer legend Rafael Márquez of laundering money for a drug cartel.

Having won four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues with Barcelona, plus more than a dozen other trophies during a career that has stretched over two decades, Márquez is Mexico’s most successful soccer player of all time. The veteran defender has captained Mexico in a record of four World Cups and was in line to lead them into a fifth next year.

A respected leader on and off the field, Márquez is also known for his charity work with disadvantaged youths. In a country stained by cartel violence and political corruption, he is a hero to millions and a symbol of national pride.

But according to a multi-year investigation involving several U.S. and Mexican agencies, even Márquez is not immune to the reach of Mexico’s many drug cartels.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Márquez and 21 others under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for their links to a vast but little-known criminal network run by Raúl Flores Hernández.

In what it described as the largest single action it had ever taken against a Mexican cartel, OFAC also blacklisted 42 businesses, including nine linked to Márquez. All but one are located in the western city of Guadalajara, where the veteran star is currently playing for his boyhood club Atlas…

Click here to read this article in full at VICE News

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