The Attorney General’s Office (FGR) investigates a likely new diversion of more than 67 million in the Secretariat for Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu) implemented in the midst of the 2018 election campaign. The exit of the money was justified by a supposedly apocryphal contract and with forged signatures and then sent a network of irregular and phantom companies.
The payment was authorized, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Higher Audit of the Federation (ASF), on April 27, 2018 through a trade allegedly signed by the then Director of Social Communication of the said unit, in favor of a company with social reason Daily Truth. S.A. de C.V.
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«This is unjustified, under the fact that the validation of the Directorate General of Social Communication of the Secretariat for the services provided was not observed, nor did the unit provide the deliverables that should have been generated by the moral person Diario la Verdad, S.A. de C.V., in order to comply with the obligations incurred in the CONTRACT SEDATU-CS-20-2018» indicates the audit.
According to the Audit’s investigation and sedatu’s current administration, the entire procedure was simulated to justify the exit of resources from the era which allegedly ended up in fraud-related companies such as The Master Scam.
Therefore, on 31 October, the ASF formally lodged the criminal complaint with the FGR. After a few weeks of analysis the case was attracted by the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office on Combating Corruption (FECC) which has already started the corresponding investigation folder.
It is anticipated that in the following weeks the ex-officials involved in this procurement will be cited and it is not ruled out, as an investigative hypothesis, that the signatures of several of them could have been forged to authorize the express exit of resources from the Senior Officer who led Emilio Zebadúa, Rosario Robles administration.
Zebadúa himself already issued a statement a few months ago in which he acknowledged having participated in the authorization of irregular payments, and argued that alleged Treasury instructions diverted resources from Sedesol and Sedatu to finance image and election campaigns.
As noted in other complaints, Zebadúa is the official who allegedly would have falsified the signatures of his colleagues to justify the money coming out.
The truth… it wasn’t such
On March 28, 2018, sedatu signed the contract CS-20-.2018 with the company Diario La Verdad S.A. de C.V. for the contracting of the «Integral Service for the Analysis of The Campaigns and Social Communication Strategies of the Secretariat» for which, in April of that same year, 67 million 490 thousand pesos were paid to the company.
In order to verify the conditions under which that money was paid and the sustenment to have done so through direct award, the ASF requested in 2019 the information related to this procedure from Sedatu’s new administration. But the dependency’s response was that there was practically nothing.
«There is no supporting or supporting documentation proving that there was budget adequacy for this purpose. Nor information covering the market investigation carried out by the unit responsible, the requisition of the services indicated, or, where appropriate, the opinion of origin with the exception of public tendering (…). Under the above, the procedure and execution of the expense related to the Daily Payment of Truth is considered to be irregular and/or apocryphal,» the report notes.
What is recorded is the invoice generated by the company and the transfer made. For this reason the auditors sought daily La Verdad to ask for information to justify what service he performed and the conditions of the service.
The company’s response was to send, extemporaneously, incomplete and inconsistent information. For example, you sent a copy of the CS-20-.2018 contract signed with Sedatu and which should be the same one that found the dependency on your files. However, it turns out that the signatures were different.
In fact, the auditors denounce, there are clear differences in the headings that are intended to be attributed to the director of social communication, the deputy director of information, and other officials of the then Sedatu who allegedly intervened in the recruitment. The same anomalies are also presented in the annex to that contract.
But in addition to the irregularities in the documents, the ASF noted that the contracted company did not prove to have with no infrastructure that would allow her to execute the services for which she was «hired». The information you were required does not verify either. All he showed was an alleged hand-to-receive trade where the signatures of Sedatu officials also appear to be false.
«In the home visit made to the moral person Diario la Verdad, S.A. de C.V., it was observed that he did not have the technical, material, human and financial capacity to execute the works contracted by the Sedatu, the above under which he does not have a domicile of his own, nor personnel in his charge, as well as technological infrastructure,» the report states.
Read more: The Master Scam: The Priists’ Favorite Publicist Received 64 mdp from SEP and Sedatu
The Web of Detour
What Diario La Verdad S.A. de C.V. did do was divide and transfer, in a totally unjustified way, the resources he received from the Sedatu to multiple other companies, some of which have the profile of facade or ghost companies.
Initially the auditors identified that the money was sent to the accounts of companies such as Dem Distribuidora de equipo and Maquinara SA de CV, Negocioinvr SA de CV, Mikkerts Master Brands SA de CV, Dinamo RS SA de CV, CCG Consultores Comerciales Grana SA de CV, Pronalsa Promotora Nacional SA de CV, among others.
Each of these companies, in turn, transferred the money to other companies or individuals in transactions between April and May 2018. A common denominator of the companies involved is that they were not discharged to the IMSS and several do not report tax payment even though there is evidence that they received money.
And there are cases such as that of the aforementioned Dinamo RS SA cv that through several movements between May 5 and 7, 2018 dispersed the money to another company with social reason Tramper and Sol SA de CV, which appears in the SAT listings of companies that invoice simulated operations. I mean phantom companies.
It was also identified that several of the companies involved are not in their tax addresses.
In this multi-triangulation web, the Audit identified that there are companies that are also involved in other irregularities identified in the 209-DS forensic audit, including agreements with universities under the Master Scam scheme.
It is a cluster of ill-handling that exceeds 1 billion pesos according to the results report of the aforementioned audit corresponding to the Public Account 2018.
Federal authorities consulted by Political Animal indicate that in most of these cases the money was transferred in one last step to natural persons or dispersed through securities companies. The departure of this money from the era coincides temporarily with the federal electoral process 2017-2018.
It should be remembered that the period of the presidential campaign was from March 30 of that year to June 27, 2018, although the pre-campaign phase began from December 2017. Voting day took place on 1 July 2018.
On March 24th journalist Mario Maldonado published in his column in the newspaper The Universal that Diario La Verdad S.A. de C.V., (the company now denounced in the aforementioned fraud) belongs to a Tobacco businessman named Carlos Canabal Ruiz, who was formerly interim mayor of Cancun (Benito Juárez), in Quintana Roo.
They postpone another month key audience of Robles
On the other hand, a federal judge decided to postpone one more month the mid-term hearing of the case opened for omissions against the former substitute of Sedesol and Sedatu, Rosario Robles Berlanga, who has been imprisoned for almost a year and a half in the women’s penalty of Santa Martha Acatitla.
Originally at the request of the defence, the hearing had been deferred from 8 December to 15 January 2021. However, judicial authorities indicated that the judge made a further adjustment for administrative issues and health restrictions, so the new date was scheduled for February 15.
Robles’ lawyers asked for this deadline to work on a collaborative scheme with the FGR in which they seek two things: to obtain an opportunity criterion that slows down the execution of an apprehension order against them for money laundering and organized crime, and to negotiate an alternate exit in the process already initiated by the alleged omissions.
The alternative outing would be for the former federal staff member to plead guilty in return for being charged with a reduced sentence allowing her to regain her freedom. In turn, it would have to declare and verify that the alleged diversions in its management were the result of higher orders.
Younow, according to federal sources, the negotiations remain in progress without any agreement has yet been reached between the parties.
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