The investigation by which Mexico requested the United Kingdom to extradition Karime Macías, wife of former Governor of Veracruz Javier Duarte de Ochoa, notes that under her management as president of the state DIF the agency handed 112 million pesos to six companies ghost for services that were not carried out, and that it was she who ordered those payments expedited.
The prosecution document, of which Animal Político has a copy, states that this is comparable to a specific fraud offence committed in the public purevite, and that it would warrant for Karime Macías a penalty ranging from 5 to 12 years in prison , in case she is found guilty.
Find out: Karime Macías is stopped in the UK, but you can continue your process free with bail payment, according to your lawyers
The research folder that gave rise to the apprehension order issued against Macías on May 25, 2018 by a judge from Veracruz, was composed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office under the management of the then state prosecutor, Jorge Winckler.
At the time, the Public Prosecutor’s Office reported that property damage to public finances had been corroborated, as a result of a series of contracts that the local DIF gave to six companies that had no material or human capacity to deliver the products.
«The contracts were for the alleged acquisition of medical equipment, multivitamins, water collection system, storm purification system, biodegradable sanitary, household appliances, school packages and others, without any data or evidence that these have been handed over to the vulnerable population that should serve this dependency,» Winckler said after announcing the order.
Among the evidence supporting this research are copies of the contracts signed with six suppliers: Grupo Balcano SA de CV; Prefraco SA de CV; Cv Romcru SA Supplier; CERENE SA de CV Business Resource Center; Ravsan Multiple Services SA CV; and ANZARA SA de CV, all of them companies already classified by the SAT as operations simulators. I mean, ghost companies.
In addition, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has the ministerial statement of former DIF director Juan Antonio Nemi Dib, who maintained that he received alleged verbal instructions from Macías to expedite payments to the aforementioned companies.
Last August Animal Político revealed the diplomatic note that Mexico sent to the United Kingdom, to request the extradition of Macías. The document confirms that the request follows the arrest warrant issued by the judge of Veracruz, for the aforementioned crime.
Although the apprehension order was issued from May 2018, it was sent to the UK until October, and several corrections were subsequently made, causing the process to be delayed. It was only last week that British authorities finally summoned Macías to appear, to be notified of the process.
Weak and unsupported case: defense
Karime Macías’s defense team, led by lawyers Marco del Toro and Pablo Campuzano, argued that the charge against their client is weak and unfounded, so they anticipated that at the moment they do not intend to accept extradition to Mexico , and will fight in the British courts so that it is not consumed.
In Mexico, lawyers have tried to promote various remedies to overturn the apprehension order issued in May 2018. In early October, a judge refused to grant an appeal, but litigants promoted an appeal to have a federal court review the case.
The defense’s central arguments focus on the Veracruz Prosecutor’s Office trying to impute to Macías facts in which it had no participation, since the allegedly irregular contracts were not signed by it, since the position of president of the DIF was honorific and had no involvement in administrative decisions.
The lawyers further emphasized that Nemi Dib’s testimony against Macías is invalid, as the same former official subsequently promoted a complaint to the local Human Rights Commission, accusing that he was compelled and allegedly tortured to frame Macias.
Finally, the defence argues that the case is not consistent, as Javier Duarte’s wife is told to order payments to companies without making it clear how she was able to benefit from that.
Ghost payments were much higher
The accusation that led to the arrest warrant contends that the Veracruz DIF handed over to six phantom companies paid 112 million pesos, however, a journalistic investigation of Political Animal and Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity proved that payments were higher.
The review of contracts and invoices obtained via transparency made it possible to identify that the State DIF dispersed 415 million pesos to a total of 33 companies, including the six indicated in the indictment of the State Prosecutor’s Office.
All these companies are part of the same network of 400 front or paper companies created by an accountants firm headed by Víctor López Gachuz, and which in total received more than 3 billion pesos from a dozen different units in the ad Ministering of Javier Duarte.
Some of these companies were not only used to receive contracts but also to triangulate resources and send them for various purposes. For example, a company in this network was found to have illegally injected resources in 2012 into the campaign of the then PRI presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto.
The pending federal case
For the last three years the PGR has opened a federal investigation folder for alleged illicit enrichment and tax fraud against Karime Macías, which to date has not been sent to a judge.
This was despite the fact that through various experts in accounting and economic developments, at least 20 million pesos were detected in bank accounts related to Macías and their relatives, which would not have a justification in some kind of lawful activity.
In December 2018, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) filed a formal complaint with the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office for this case, an indispensable requirement for the investigation to be prosecuted for tax offences. But so far no progress has been reported on the case.
A different situation is that of Monica Macías Tubilla, sister of Karime Macías, who did have a warrant for the crime of tax fraud for an amount that would exceed three million pesos, and even requested its location through a file INTERPOL. The authorities have not yet confirmed whether this order could already be fulfilled.
International law specialists consulted by Animal Político indicated that if Karime Macías’ defence is intended to combat the extradition request – as its lawyers intend to do – the legal proceedings in the UK could take three to six months before, a determination is made.
The manner in which the procedure is to be conducted is regulated by an extradition treaty that Mexico and the United Kingdom signed since the 19th century (1887), but which remains in force to date.
One of the particularities of the specific treaty between the two countries is that it contemplates the assessment of the evidence by the authority that must deliver to the fugitive (in this case the United Kingdom), to determine whether the evidence is sufficient and support the opening of criminal proceedings. If such evidence is deemed insufficient, extradition could be denied.
Yesterday it was made known that as long as the extradition trial of Macías unfolded, Macías may remain at liberty but under various restrictions of movement. It should be remembered that Javier Duarte’s wife has lived in the British country for more than two years and, at the time, filed an application for political asylum.
The conditions of the extradition treaty between the two countries can be found in this link.
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