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Mexico – Cash for licences corruption scandal links Spain and Mexico

By - 13 February 2017

The Spanish National Police are investigating a number of allegedly illegal payments to the daughter of ex president of Mexico Ana Cristina Fox de la Concha from Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, the eldest son of former President of the Catalan Government.

The payments are at the centre of a ‘cash for licences’ scandal gripping the Mexican gaming industry. The granting of casino licences under President Fox’s administration was always controversial because so many were granted in such a short space of time. In the spring of 2005 President Vicente Fox attempted to completely do away with Mexico’s 1947 gaming laws and pave the way for a number of Las Vegas style casinos in tourist hotspots. However, lack of support for the bill in Congress meant that his administration, rather than totally scrapping the old law could only add new legislation as an appendix to the old law.

While changes to the 1947 act did not give the go ahead for fully fledged land based casinos it did allow for sports betting shops, and bingo and slot parlours. It also granted the then head of SEGOB Santiago Creel the power to grant licences. Before leaving office in 2005 Mr. Creel granted 763 licenses to gaming parlours all over Mexico.

Compiled by the Spanish anti-fraud unit UDEF police are now investigating payments for the rental of property in Mexico City. Local news sources say that the property was rented by Jordi Pujol Ferrusola from the daughter of Vicente Fox, who was President of Mexico between 2000 and 2006.

Dated May 26, 2016 the report states: “We are certain of the existence of at least one resolution favourable to the interests of Jordi Pujol Ferrusola decreed by the administration led by Vicente Fox,” which was the granting of 106 betting licences to Promociones e Inversiones de Guerrero to which Jordi Pujol Ferrusola has close ties, according to local news sources.

The Spanish investigation led by the judge of the National Court, José de la Mata, revealed that the alleged payments were made from Iniciatives Marketing i Inversions the company owned by Pujol Ferrusola, to the person who they identify as Fox’s daughter and a third party for a total of €45, 717, for the alleged rental of a property in Mexico City.

The report is not limited to this case and addresses a large number of other transfers made by Pujol Ferrusola to other people linked to political activities in Mexico.

The police are currently investigating the former Catalan leader Jordi Pujol and members of his family. This was after Jordi Pujol released a note in 2014 explaining that for 34 years, including 23 as the President of Catalonia, he had maintained secret foreign bank accounts. A scandal ensued in the Spanish media as it involves allegations against many family members, including trafficking of influence, bribery, and money laundering and public corruption. His sons Jordi and Oleguer Pujol Ferrusola are being investigated by tax authorities.

Jordi Pujol Ferrusola is now being investigated in a separate inquiry for collecting illegal fees for government contracts and then moving the money offshore.

IMAGE CC BY 3.0 br, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=402835

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