A former Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) chief as well as his wife, daughter and a close associate are under investigation in connection with multi-million-dollar deposits to bank accounts in Andorra, according to a report by the newspaper El País.
Published Wednesday, the report said the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) is investigating Manlio Fabio Beltrones, PRI national president between 2015 and 2016 and a former senator, deputy and governor of Sonora, his wife Sylvia Sánchez, his daughter Senator Sylvana Beltrones Sánchez and Alejandro Capdevielle, a former federal deputy.
El País said they are under investigation for presumed irregularities in relation to hidden accounts held with the Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA), located in the tiny principality that borders both Spain and France.
The report said that Beltrones Sánchez, daughter of one of the “most influential figures in Mexican politics,” deposited US $10.4 million in BPA accounts between 2009 and 2010.
It noted that Beltrones Sánchez was just 26 at the time and didn’t have a job. Her father was the powerful coordinator of the PRI faction in the Senate, El País said.
The report also said that in 2015 a judge in Sonora placed embargoes on accounts held by the senator and both her parents due to suspicion of money laundering.
“Despite the gravity of the circumstances, the case remained hidden from the public,” El País said.
The newspaper said that a money laundering investigation in Andorra was shelved in 2018 after the PGR, as the Attorney General’s Office was known before President López Obrador took office, said in a report that the time within which a probe must take place had expired.
Under the leadership of Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero, the FGR opened a new investigation due to alleged irregularities in its predecessor’s probe.
Capdevielle, who like the Beltrones family is from Sonora, told El País that the new investigation violates “fundamental human rights.”
“The new investigation consists of once again determining the legality of the resources deposited in Andorra. And they’re investigating the same people – the Beltrones family and me, for the same actions. They’re violating fundamental human rights. This is a tried and resolved case. Everything has already been cleared up,” he said.
Capdevielle, a newspaper editor who headed up the Mexican Association of Newspaper and Magazine Editors between 2003 and 2007, said the money deposited in BPA accounts came from a $10-million sale to broadcaster Televisa of Aviso de Ocasión, a classifieds publication.
But a judge in Andorra claimed that money came from payments to Manlio Beltrones in exchange for the approval in 2006 of the so-called Televisa Law, which allowed the broadcaster – which has long had a very cosy relationship with the once omnipotent PRI – to broaden its activities into areas such as telecommunications, internet and radio.
Manlio Beltrones rejected the accusation, telling El País that it is ridiculous and false.
“We [the PRI] didn’t have a majority in Congress. Besides I’ve had moments of friction with the broadcasters … [because] we reformed the electoral law and we removed their right to sell advertising to [political] parties. That was a reform of great importance that cost us a lot,” he said.
Sylvana Beltrones told El País that she opened an account with BPA in 2009 to in order to receive money that Capdevielle owed her after the closure of a homewares store they operated together in Mexico City.
The senator rejected claims of wrongdoing in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon and said she no longer has any BPA account. She asserted that the accusations against her are politically motivated, noting that elections are drawing near.