Details of lavish spending by the former boss of the Pemex oil workers union and his family have come to light through a federal investigation.
Carlos Romero Deschamps and his family spent 275 million pesos (about US $16 million) over three years on jewelry, U.S. and Mexican real estate and 477 flights to seven countries, according to documents obtained by the newspaper Milenio.
The investigation by the federal Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) revealed that in the last three years of the government of former president Enrique Peña Nieto, Romero and his family declared 88.6 million pesos in spending and generated tax deductions of 21.5 million pesos but received over 300 million pesos in bank deposits.
The circulation of the money allegedly allowed Romero to use his wife, children and their respective partners and his brother-in-law as a front to triangulate resources and evade taxes.
Authorities were alerted by the scale of deposits and payments, particularly by real estate sales worth 174.8 million pesos and purchases worth 62.4 million. The family also traveled 477 times to the United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, the United States, Germany, Brazil and Japan, destinations to which they arrived on several occasions on private flights.
The Pemex union granted a loan of 5 million pesos to one of Romero’s sons and 500,000 pesos to his brother-in-law, despite neither of them having an employment relationship with Pemex.
Early suspicions were raised by the luxurious portfolio of assets that became public knowledge. The yacht The Indomitable and a 10-million-peso house in Mexico City’s upmarket Polanco district attracted attention. The family is also listed as the owner of luxury apartments in Florida.
In March it was announced that the 77-year-old Romero, an ex-lawmaker once named one of Mexico’s most corrupt politicians, had left Pemex after 62 years of service on a pension equal to his full salary.
Two criminal complaints over the family’s financial activities were made to the Attorney General’s Office in May 2019, the progress of which is unknown. The criminal complaints against Romero were first revealed by President López Obrador in May.