Javier Duarte's house in picturesque Tlacotalpan. Javier Duarte's house in picturesque Tlacotalpan.

Veracruz officials seize Duarte real estate

Riverside heritage house in Tlacotalpan will become government offices

Authorities have seized Javier Duarte’s riverfront house in the picturesque town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tlacotalpan.


Governor Miguel Ángel Yunes yesterday signed a decree expropriating the property of his predecessor, who is currently awaiting extradition proceedings in Guatemala, where he was arrested April 15. Yunes’ office said the house had been purchased through prestanombres, or front men, with public funds.

It will now house government offices and become “an asset of the people of Veracruz in the care of the Institute of Culture of Veracruz,” said Yunes, who described the expropriation as an act of justice.

“We have to recover the assets and resources taken by Duarte and his gang,” he added.

Last year, the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) found two paintings by Mexican artist Diego Rivera inside the Tlacotalpan house, where Duarte docked his Italian-made luxury yacht, a Riva Aquariva Super worth US $790,000.

It was reported last week that the house, itself a heritage building, was operated as the Hotel Spa Casa Tlacotalpan but had been closed because its legal registration was incomplete, property taxes had not been paid and other faults.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into Duarte’s alleged organized crime and money laundering, which entailed diverting and embezzling funds from state coffers. Four major state secretariats — Health, Education, Public Security and Agricultural Development (Sedarpa) — were allegedly used by Duarte to divert money.


During 2015, two ghost companies created by Duarte’s front men received up to 350 million pesos ($55.2 million) in funding from the Education Secretariat.

This information was provided by Alfonso Ortega López, a tax lawyer once close to Duarte, to the PGR.

Another of the former governor’s collaborators, Arturo Bermúdez Zurita, offered the PGR details on the modus operandi behind those illicit operations.

Then Public Security Secretary Bermúdez said that in mid-2014 he received a call from former Veracruz Treasurer Antonio Tarek Abdalá Saad, who informed him of Duarte’s new instructions.

These explained that all federal resources for public security would be received directly by Bermúdez’ secretariat, bypassing the state Finance Secretariat.

The funds were then to be transferred to the state treasury or paid to contractors to be determined by Duarte. Abdalá added that such procedures were also being implemented in the Health and Education Secretariats, and in Sedarpa.

Other senior officials have also been singled out as close collaborators in Duarte’s embezzlement scheme, including Flavino Ríos Alvarado, former interim governor and Duarte’s Interior Secretary, now in jail for allegedly helping Duarte escape last October.

Source: Reforma (sp), Milenio (sp), Al Calor Político (sp)

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  • Güerito

    For those wondering how this could take place for so long with impunity:

    “Leonardo Núñez González, who has studied in depth the way in which public funds are handled in the country, analyzed the Superior Auditor of the Federation’s findings during the Duarte government. Carlos Puig collated them in an article published last week in Milenio. It is worth pausing to consider these findings.

    According to public information, in 2011 the Auditor made observations questioning the destination of 46 million pesos. The following year, in 2012, it did so for just over 9 million pesos.

    In 2013, after the election of Enrique Peña Nieto, the irregularities soared to more than 9 billion pesos. That’s right: from 9 million to 9 billion in a year. In 12 months, an increase of almost 100 thousand percent! It is impossible to disassociate this escalation in abuse of power from Peña Nieto’s election.

    Naturally, the Peña Nieto government knew about the outrages in Veracruz. Duarte’s abuses were denounced by many in the media. But, beyond the press reports, the same federal government institutions knew about the robbery. The Attorney General’s Office received a formal complaint from the Auditor Office back in 2013. They didn’t do anything.

    Javier Duarte had to lose an election, resign the governorship of Veracruz and flee the country before the Attorney General would issue a warrant for his arrest.”


  • K. Chris C.

    Not to be sympathetic to any pol or crat, but the sheeple will miss that the tyranny is only setting a precedent enabling them in the future to take the people’s property without benefit of proof and trial.

    An American citizen, not US subject.

  • Boy, that guy wasn’t even trying to be low-key or subtle with his thievery.

    • Güerito

      That’s the whole point. After EPN came in 2012, the “new generation of PRI Governors” went hog wild stealing everything that came their way, confident they’d never face the consequences.

  • Commander Barkfeather

    So the government has expropriated this cozy little bungalow–bravo! Should it not be auctioned off in an effort to recoup monies embezzled from state funds, rather than just awarding the real estate to other government agencies? Duarte didn’t steal from the government, he stole from the people. Duarte didn’t steal real estate, he stole money and bought real estate with it (rather foolishly). I admire the Institute of Culture of Veracruz as much as the next guy, but unless they can establish injury, why should they be awarded the spoils?

    • WestCoastHwy

      This is exactly my thoughts, it just passes the asset from one corrupted political entity to another. As stated, it was a money generating business and should continue so by auction; tax revenue would also be collected.

      But because of all the corruption, even if it were auctioned, inadvertently the monies would probably come from some illegal appropriation. Some but not all Mexicans and very little Foreigners know that there is a deep Buddy System that runs through Mexico that even the Egyptian Pharaohs would be jealous.

      So, at lease Mexican Corruption does has a protective mechanism; if one part of the corruption loses, another will gain.

      What puzzles me is why the neighbor in the North has allowed such a system to be implemented with the Donald Trump Country Club Presidency?

      • Gerry Wright

        Er uh what? Can’t find the connection to Trump? Puzzles you how? Might be on your fourth martini, can’t blame you there. Need that Clinton family down here to show how to run things and bring money in from different sources without all these arrests and bad publicity.

        • WestCoastHwy

          don’t tell me that you are one of the ignorant white uneducated people who voted for Donald Trump.

  • Gerry Wright

    Fine chap this Javier Duarte,slight mix-up, sure everything will work out once he returns. Think that chap Duarte might have hired some bad apples who did things he didn’t know about. Always knew Duarte to be a friend of the needy, animals and the elderly, man deserves another chance, maybe two more chances.