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Union leader Romero. Union leader Romero.

Pemex workers file new evidence against longtime union leader Romero

They claim the previous government delayed the investigation into the former PRI senator

A group of state oil company employees has presented new evidence to federal authorities to support a 2016 criminal complaint against Pemex workers’ union leader Carlos Romero Deschamps.

Members of the group known as Active Petroleum Workers Movement in Evolution for a New Mexico yesterday submitted nine pieces of evidence to the organized crime investigation unit (SEIDO) of the federal Attorney General’s office (FGR) to substantiate accusations of organized crime, money laundering, tax evasion and fraud and illicit enrichment to the tune of US $150 million.

The group hopes that the new evidence will prompt the federal government to dust off existing files against Romero and initiate criminal proceedings against him.

“Today we went to the organized crime investigation unit of the FGR to provide some momentum for the complaint filed in October 2016 and to follow up on the investigations [already] carried out,” said Arturo Flores Contreras, the group’s leader.

He claims that Romero and his prestanombres, or front men, have sold 126 convenience stores, 26 factories and 60,000 hectares of ranch land that belonged to the Pemex workers’ union (STPRM).

“We’ve been dispossessed of all the wealth that . . . our fathers and grandfathers built up. That’s why we’re working to recover it,” Flores said.

“This leader, who’s been at the head of our union for 25 years, is being investigated in several ways. We . . . have a robust file against that person and 36 [union] general secretaries, family members and prestanombres,” he added.

Flores told reporters that the previous Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) government led by Enrique Peña Nieto deliberately delayed the case against Romero, who has been at the helm of the STPRM since 1993 and also served as a senator for the PRI between 2012 and 2018.

“The investigations were carried out slowly and negligently . . . which allowed the union leader to evade justice and remain unpunished. That’s why we’ve come to follow up on the investigations and to give impetus to the [criminal] complaint . . .” Flores said.

He added that the more than 300 workers who support the complaint against Romero have faith that the new government will bring him to justice.

“The petroleum workers have full confidence in the anti-corruption policy that the López Obrador government is promoting as an institutional commitment,” Flores said.

“We believe that there is sufficient evidence for him [Romero] to stand trial. And we’re certain that the actions of this new administration will . . . effectively combat corruption in Mexico and punish those responsible.”

Romero has been implicated in various scandals while head of the STPRM including the so-called Pemexgate case in which the union was found to have diverted 500 million pesos to the 2000 presidential campaign of PRI candidate Francisco Labastida.

He has also been criticized for his ostentatious lifestyle, including giving a limited-edition Ferrari to his son and picking up the tab for the lavish wedding of his daughter.

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Universal (sp) 

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