Revelations made by the tax lawyer once close to former Veracruz governor Javier Duarte continue to offer a glimpse into the inner machinations of the politician’s alleged money laundering schemes.
The lawyer, now publicly identified as Alfonso Ortega López, had already confessed that he had allowed his name to be used by Duarte to create a number of limited liability companies based in the United States, in a practice commonly known in Mexico as a prestanombre.
Ortega has now told the Attorney General’s office (PGR) how Duarte was able to acquire close to 30 middle-class homes in the city of Miami that were being auctioned off in 2013 for overdue mortgage payments. Nineteen of the properties have a value of US $3.2 million.
The houses were bought and sold several times in operations intended to conceal Duarte’s money by his closest collaborators: besides Ortega, th0se allegedly included businessmen Moisés Mansur Cysneiros, Iñaki Negrete and José Zury Mansur.
Ortega also told the PGR about a apartment the former governor has in the Finisterre condominium complex in the resort town of Ixtapa, Guerrero. In December 2011, Duarte instructed Ortega to purchase the two adjoining apartments as the governor wanted “to expand his property to better cater to his guests.”
This was to become the first operation Ortega performed as Duarte’s prestanombre. The apartments were purchased from real estate company Ventanas del Arrecife for a total of $3 million, with an additional $500,000 for equipment, furnishings and decorating.
Once the murky dealings of the governor of Veracruz became public, the real estate company urged Ortega to regularize what until that moment were only private contracts, without official recognition.
According to Ortega, “Duarte’s people” made an agreement with Ventanas del Arrecife to erase any trail and indication that linked Duarte to the Finisterre properties.
The lawyer was also a witness to Duarte’s purchase of a set of ring and earrings the governor gave his wife for an anniversary. They cost more than $220,000.
The items were purchased from the exclusive Berger jewelry store in Polanco, Mexico City, and paid for by Moisés Mansur. Ortega was tasked with picking up the gifts and signing a document. Later, Mansur would pay for them, and all receipts were issued in his name.