Former Tamaulipas governor Tomás Yarrington has pleaded guilty in the United States to a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced Thursday that Yarrington, who was in power in the northern border state between 1999 and 2004, had admitted he accepted more than US $3.5 million in bribes and used the resources to purchase property fraudulently in the United States.
The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Texas said the 64-year-old former Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governor admitted to a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering in a “pay to play type of scheme.”
“As part of the plea, Yarrington admitted he accepted bribes from individuals and private companies in Mexico to do business with the state of Tamaulipas while he served as governor,” the statement said.
The Attorney’s Office said the ex-governor, who was a PRI pre-candidate for president in the lead-up to the 2006 election, used the bribes he received to purchase several properties.
“He had prestanombres – nominee buyers – purchase property in the United States to hide Yarrington’s ownership of the properties and the illegal bribery money used to purchase them,” it said.
The Attorney’s Office said that Yarrington admitted that one of the illegally purchased properties was a condominium in Port Isabel, a Gulf coast town 40 kilometers northeast of Matamoros, Tamaulipas. He has agreed to forfeit that property.
“He also acknowledged he knew it was against the law in Mexico to take the bribes and to hide the over $3.5 million in illegal bribe money in the United States by buying real estate, cars and other personal items,” the Attorney’s Office said.
A U.S. district judge accepted Yarrington’s plea and will set a sentencing hearing at a later date. The ex-governor, extradited to the United States by Italy in April 2018, faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
The ex-governor allegedly has ties to criminal organizations including the Gulf Cartel. He became a fugitive from justice in 2012 and was arrested in Italy in 2017 while traveling under an assumed name with a false passport
Mexico News Daily