The government of Veracruz has recovered properties in Texas it says were bought with embezzled public funds, and is negotiating to recover more real estate in the Houston area whose owner was a cabinet secretary during the Javier Duarte Ochoa administration.
Governor Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares revealed in Houston yesterday that the five-bedroom lakefront house and an office complex in Woodlands were worth some 40 million pesos (US $2 million). The money had been stolen by his predecessor and close collaborators, he charged.
Another 21 properties are owned by a former unidentified secretary who lives in Houston, the governor said, and should be turned over to the state government.
Should he refuse, Yunes warned, the case will go to the courts and the former official will be incarcerated.
“There is someone who was a secretary in the Duarte cabinet who owns 21 residences. We’re already talking seriously with him, and if [the real estate] is not returned, he’s going to jail. I say this clearly, he’s going to jail,” the governor said.
He said there are other properties owned by Duarte and his collaborators that the state is attempting to recover, including a house in Woodlands owned by Duarte’s sister-in-law, Mónica Macías Tubilla.
There is also real estate in Miami and New York and the state of Arizona and a condominium in Spain valued at 120 million pesos (US $5.9 million).
Yunes said the newly-recovered house in Houston will be sold and the proceeds invested in health infrastructure.
“We’re going to sell it and we’ll allocate it to health projects; it’s very probable that what we obtain here will be used to finish building the Nautla or Perote hospitals, or to build a clinic needed in the poorest area of Veracruz,” he said.
Yunes’ government filed civil lawsuits in Houston in February alleging that money diverted from state coffers had been laundered through real estate purchases in Texas.