judge suspends order for organized crime

a federal judge permanently suspended the arrest warrant issued against the former secretary Rosario Oaksfor the crimes of organized crime and money launderingrelated to the case of The master scam. This is an arrest warrant that the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) obtained since 2020, but that never took action to enforce it.

It was the FGR itself that on October 31, 2020 asked a federal judge from Almoloya, State of Mexico, to granted the order against the former officialafter pointing her out as the leader of an alleged criminal organization made up of former officials under her command, a university and several ghost companies, through which hundreds of millions of pesos were diverted, a concerted action to loot the state coffers.

Judge Iván Zeferín Hernández granted the order and gave the green light to the prosecution to complete it and, with it, trigger the process. But the FGR did not. This, despite the fact that the former official was located all the time, because at that time she was already imprisoned in the Santa Martha Acatitla women’s prison, serving a preventive prison for another accusation of omissions related to the same facts.

Now, the command can no longer be executed because the defense of Robles processed an amparo against the legality of the same and the accusation of organized crime, and managed to get the 14th District Court in Criminal Amparo Matters of Mexico City to definitively suspend the execution of the order.

Political Animal He asked the prosecutor’s office for a position on why his agents never showed up at the prison to comply with the order in this case, but no response was received until the closing of the edition.

Executing said order is not a mere formality, although the former official was already physically detained. Experts explain that the fact that the order was not officially notified to the former head of Sedesol and Sedatu prevented the initial hearing from being scheduled, the evidence from being analyzed, and the criminal process from advancing. In summary: that there be a trial for this case.

“There is no justification for not having executed said order, they had months to do it. What can be seen here is that there was negligence or, in his case, an irregular arrangement (…) We believe that the case should be investigated and it should be determined if this is part of an agreement that could lead to the commission of the crime,” says lawyer Estefanía Medina, co-founder of the Tojil organization, which filed the original criminal complaint that led to the opening of the investigations.

Robles’ defense, for its part, maintains that the FGR has acted from the beginning illegally in this case and “violating the human rights” of its client, since it tried to promote a separate process for serious crimes, which has to do with the same facts for which she has been prosecuted since before.

“They carried out this process to obtain this arrest warrant, which from the beginning had no reason to exist because she was never removed from the action of justice. She was already detained, it was a notorious fact. But they wanted that order to keep her as a sword of Damocles in case she got her freedom. From our point of view, it was a pressure measure that they had for months, but that has already been distorted, ”said the lawyer José Garrigós, defender of the former official, in an interview.

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Robles is serving three years in preventive detention this week, a precautionary measure that was imposed on him after voluntarily appearing at the initial hearings for the charges of omissions that were originally charged. This is a criminal proceeding that has already taken longer than the law establishes (two years maximum preventive detention), and has been trapped between the amparos that the former official has won against that precautionary measure and the insistence of the prosecutor’s office and the judges that he remains in prison. These debates have meant that this case cannot advance to the trial phase either.

The accusation of organized crime

According to the FGR investigation presented before Judge Zeferín Hernández, and which gave way to criminal case 400/2020 and the aforementioned uncompleted arrest warrant, between 2013 and 2018, Robles, taking advantage of his positions as head of Sedesol and Sedatu, “operated a criminal organization, whose members permanently and repeatedly displayed behaviors tending to commit crimes in terms of operations with products of illicit origin.”

According to prosecutors, the criminal organization led by Robles managed, through manipulation of the law and the complicity of other officials and individuals, divert 5 thousand 073 million 358 thousand 846 pesos through 20 general agreements and 44 specific agreements signed with universities and public institutions.

The criminal structure to commit this millionaire fraud was made up of three groups: the first by public servants from Sedesol and Sedatu; the second group, made up of officials from universities and public state agencies, and the third, made up of partners, shareholders and/or attorneys-in-fact of the front companies where the resources originally ended up.

The mechanism, documented at the time in the report of “The master scam”consisted in the fact that, taking advantage of the exception provided for in the Procurement Law to deliver budget resources without bidding to public bodies, the aforementioned dependencies pretended to need certain services, signed agreements with colluded universities and when they received the resources, they illegally triangulated them to subcontracted shell companies.

In the case sent to Judge Zeferín Hernández, the prosecutors selected and documented one of the agreements signed with the Autonomous University of Morelos which, according to previous analyzes made by the Superior Audit Office of the Federation (ASF), ended up generating a breach of little more than 77 million pesos.

Those involved in this specific case and against whom the arrest warrants for organized crime and money laundering were requested and issued are, on the side of the federal agencies, Rosario Oaksformer head of Sedesol and Sedatu, and Simon Pedro Leon Mojarro, former federal coordinator of delegations. On the university side Alejandro Vera Jimenezwho was the rector; Wistano Luis Orozcoformer director of companies and services, and Gerardo Avila Garciaformer secretary of the rectory.

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Regarding the companies involved, orders were issued against Stephen Cervantesshareholder of ESGER Servicios y Construcciones; Gianni Obed Hernandez Torrespartner of Grupo Industrial y Servicios YAFED, SA de CV, and Luis Antonio Valencianorepresentative of Feyray Real Estate.

According to judicial authorities, so far four of those arrest warrants have been carried out, but only for those involved with a lower profile. One of them is Antonio Valenciano, against whom the FGR has already filed the formal accusation after the complementary investigation phase has been completed and He has asked the judge to sentence him to 35 years in prison without the right to any benefits.

According to the same investigation by the prosecution, there are other former federal public servants involved in these events, including the former senior officer of Sedesol and Sedatu, Emilio Zebadúa. However, no action has been taken against them since they have been treated as collaborating witnesses.

The case does not hold: defense

Robles’ lawyers consider that the accusations of organized crime presented by the FGR and a possible trial against him are not supported by two central arguments. The first has to do with the violation of the presumption of innocence of the former official, which has already been confirmed by a federal court and where the main responsible has been the prosecutor, Alejandro Gertz.

The second point, which the litigants consider the central one, has to do with the fact that the facts imputed to the former Secretary of State in this accusation are exactly the same as in the process that had already been opened previously for alleged omissions. That is, the signing of the agreements that gave way to the alleged loss of more than 5 billion pesos.

“What we are asking the amparo judge is not only to rule on the arrest warrant, which has already been distorted, but to go to the bottom of the issue because no person can be tried twice for the same facts and the same behaviors, that have to do with the so-called Master Fraud. It is the same investigation and, in any case, it would all have to be part of the same process,” says lawyer José Garrigós.

The litigants also assure that their client is not guilty of the facts that they impute to him. They explained that they have already reviewed the 1,800 pages that make up the investigation folder sent to the amparo judge, which they describe as a “compendium of sayings and assumptions”, where there is no material evidence that the former official has committed an illegal act.

They insist that the payments made by the dependencies that Robles headed were made under a provision established in the law that even today, to date, prevails. “That is why we believe that this should be resolved by means of amparo because here we are facing facts that, if irregularities are verified, would have to go through an administrative issue, even by disqualifications if that is the case, but not by criminal means,” adds Garrigós .

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The litigant recalls that both the Ministry of Public Administration (SFP) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) and the FGR have already investigated the economic environment of the former official without finding unexplained income, properties or wealth.

three years and nothing

On August 13, 2019, a federal judge ordered that Robles be imprisoned preventively, while the criminal process initiated against her for alleged omissions that facilitated the deviations that occurred in her dependency was developed and concluded. A preventive detention that, by law, should not have lasted more than two years, but that this week will already reach three.

The process has been trapped in two parts: on the one hand, the resources that the defense has presented against the precautionary measure that was imposed, mainly amparos, where various irregularities have been confirmed in the arguments and evidence that gave rise to their imprisonment. However, both the prosecution and the judges responsible for the process have insisted on maintaining preventive detention against the former official.

Now, the preventive detention of Robles will be analyzed by a special court that, on the instructions of the president of the Council of the Federal Judiciary, Minister Arturo Zaldívar, will review the cases in which it is presumed that there has been an abuse of the aforementioned precautionary measure.

And the other reason that has slowed down the eventual trial against the official has to do with an injunction promoted by her lawyers in which they allege that the charges against her have already been revoked and, therefore, the process has to be archived. This appeal is under review by a collegiate court.

For the lawyer Estefanía Medina, the fact that this case reaches three years without any major progress is one more example of what she considers a “deficient and disappointing” work of the current administration of the FGR, where what has been privileged is the mere incarceration as a synonym of supposed justice, having remained in words the promise of prosecutor Gertz to undertake a major investigation into this case.

“This case and in general all the investigations related not only to La Estafa Maestra but also to the great cases of corruption have turned out to be a complete disappointment in the legal field, proving once again that the fight against corruption has remained in words and not Actions. Perhaps the darkest time of the administration of justice in the last 20 years of our country. A setback that will be very difficult to overcome in the future if there is not an urgent change in leadership and strategy”, says Medina.

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