The search for the fugitive ex-governor of Veracruz has reached beyond the borders of Mexico, extending as far as Africa.
The scope of the search for governor-on-leave Javier Duarte broadened after authorities uncovered the magnitude of the politician’s “economic power,” said staff at the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) who were consulted by the newspaper Milenio.
Efforts to find Duarte have been concentrated on Mexico but authorities are not discounting the possibility he could be elsewhere in the Americas or in Europe or Africa.
The search in Mexico has been focusing not only on Duarte’s alleged network of phantom companies and prestanombres, or front men, but also on well known business people with whom he could have had dealings, said the newspaper’s sources.
Some of those have had murky dealings in the past and have faced the Mexican justice system before, but it remains to be determined if they were Duarte’s business partners at some time.
Besides the dubious companies that existed only on paper, the Veracruz politician’s “money trails” have led the authorities to plantations, transportation companies and real estate in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco.
Two arrests so far in the case have been those of sisters Nadia Isabel and Elia Arzate Peralta, who allegedly served Duarte as prestanombres and as legal liaison for several phantom companies.
They were detained on October 18 and are currently being held in the Santa Martha Acatitla penitentiary in Mexico City.
Meanwhile, Duarte’s in-laws filed and won a provisional suspension that prevents the PGR from arresting them “until their right to have a defense” is respected.
Jesús Antonio Macías Yazegey, previously singled out for irregular dealings in the state of Veracruz, and María Virginia Yazmín Tubilla Letayf have alleged “police harassment” at their home address.
The couple has also complained about the PGR freezing their bank accounts, a procedure that has been carried out as part of the inquiries into Duarte’s prestanombre scheme.
Source: Milenio (sp)