Due to lack of evidence, trial against former Senator Lavalle is postponed for three months

Because the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has not managed to gather the necessary bank details, a federal judge decided to postpone for three months the presentation of evidence within the criminal process opened against former PAN Senator Jorge Luis Lavalle Maury, accused of having received alleged bribes to approve the energy reform in the last six-year term.
The new postponement, authorized in a hearing held on August 1, prevents this process from advancing to the trial phase and determining whether the former PAN senator is really guilty of any crime. Meanwhile, he has already served more than 15 months in prison in the North Prison.
It was in April 2021 when the Prosecutor’s Office exposed before federal judge Marco Antonio Fuerte Tapia that Lavalle was part of an alleged criminal association led by former President Enrique Peña Nieto and former Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray, which aimed to channel Odebrecht resources to achieve the approval of the energy reform.

According to the investigation initiated from a complaint by former Pemex director Emilio Lozoya (currently imprisoned), between April 2013 and August 2014, more than 100 million pesos were channeled to different opposition legislators on orders from Peña and Videgaray to expedite the approval of structural reforms.
Lavalle was one of the legislators who allegedly received this money. For this reason, he was arrested and linked to trial for his probable responsibility in the crimes of criminal association and operations with resources of illicit origin. And he asked for six months to conclude the investigations.
This period officially ended in October last year. However, in the exercise of his defense, Lavalle requested that the statements of a Hidalgo businesswoman named Fabiola Tapia be presented as evidence, who according to the FGR investigation, was the one who put the cash that was later distributed for bribes. Lozoya stated that this money was a kind of advance of the transfers made by Odebrecht.

The defense of the former senator has maintained that this operation lacks logic and is non-existent and, therefore, they have requested that Tapia’s financial statements be presented to prove the alleged movement of the appeal. 
However, because the FGR did not have such evidence, the judge instructed prosecutors since the end of last year to request such information through the National Banking and Securities Commission. So far, as explained by the officials of the Prosecutor’s Office, such information has not been obtained due to issues related to bank secrecy.
Since the defense considers that it is a key piece of evidence, federal judge Marco Antonio Fuerte Tapia gave a final period of three months to the Prosecutor’s Office to obtain the data or, failing that, explain why it is not possible to get hold of them. This with the corresponding repercussions for the theory of the case of the prosecutors.
The extensions of these deadlines are also being used by the defense lawyers of the former PAN senator to work on an accounting expert report that they will present as data in their favor for the eventual trial.
Lavalle, a detainee of eight involved
So far, former Senator Lavalle Maury is the only one arrested and prosecuted in the case of alleged bribes to approve the energy reform. This despite the fact that, according to the FGR itself, there are eight in total former public servants who agreed to confirm what it called “a society with the purpose of carrying out various criminal behaviors”, between 2013 and 2014.
The list of those implicated, whose names were presented before the judge in the hearing in which he was arrested and linked to the Lavalle trial, is made up of former President Enrique Peña Nieto, former Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray, and former federal legislators Ernesto Javier Cordero Arroyo, David Penchyna Grub, Ricardo Anaya Cortes, Francisco Javier Cabeza de Vaca and Salvador Vega Casillas.
Last year, in this same case, prosecutors requested that an initial hearing be held against Ricardo Anaya to which he did not appear. Despite this, to date it has not been disclosed that any arrest warrant has been requested against him.
Regarding the rest of the former officials indicated before the judge, the federal prosecutors consulted indicated that the investigations are in progress and that, at the appropriate procedural moment, the determination to exercise criminal action against them will be made. Emilio Lozoya, who filed the complaint that gave rise to this investigation and has offered himself as a collaborating witness in an eventual trial, is — as is Lavalle— in pre-trial detention in the North Prison. So far the FGR has not agreed to grant him the criterion of opportunity he seeks, but his case has not advanced to a trial either.
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Original source in Spanish

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