Spanish police have arrested a former governor of Coahuila and ex-president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) on suspicion of money-laundering and embezzlement, reported the newspaper El País.
Humberto Moreira was detained today on his arrival at the Madrid airport at the request of United States authorities.
Moreira, 48, served as Coahuila governor from 2005 until 2011, earning notoriety for running up the state’s debt from US $200 million to $35 billion. He stepped down as governor before finishing his term in order to run for election as national president of the PRI, which he won in March 2011.
But he was forced to resign nine months later because of the debt scandal. In 2013 Moreira, who had been a teacher, moved with his family to Barcelona where he began studying for a master’s degree in education.
In 2013, Forbes magazine put him on the list of Mexico’s 10 most corrupt politicians and remains there despite Moreira’s accusation that he had been libeled.
Moreira has never been charged with any crime although evidence showed the state had obtained loans by using fake documentation during his tenure as governor. However, two of his associates haven’t been so lucky.
His finance secretary, Héctor Javier Villarreal Hernández, pleaded guilty in the U.S. in 2014 to money-laundering after authorities seized a bank account in his name in Bermuda. The $2.2 million it contained was suspected to be the proceeds of bribery or misappropriation of funds.
He and associates are believed to have funneled at least $35 million of illicit funds into the Bermuda account.
Villarreal Hernández is due to be sentenced in March. He was also charged in Mexico with forging documents to obtain loans for the state but fled and remains a fugitive.
Also a fugitive is the man who replaced Moreira when he left to take up the party presidency.
Jorge Juan Torres López, who was secretary of social development before becoming interim governor, is wanted in the United States on conspiracy charges.
Both men took funds obtained by illicit means and laundered the money in Texas, according to U.S. authorities.
The current governor of Coahuila is Moreira’s older brother, Rubén.
Source: El País (sp)