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Swift justice? Sorta

18 June 2008

Everyone seems a little confused by the changes to the constitution guaranteeing open trials. This does not change the legal system (a few states already have made these changes), but only means an accused will appear before a judge, where before the accused made a deposition (and often their trial was in front of a clerk sitting in the hallway outside their cell).  In theory, this will speed up the system, and unclog the jails, but it’s going to take time.

Even the efficient Swiss, whose court system is very similar to what the Mexican system will look like, take their own sweet time.  Mexico has been attempting since 1995 to get back from Swiss banks the money the Salinas family stole.  Raul Salinas’ accounts were frozen in November of that year, when Swiss investigators had enough suspicion that the money came from narcotics trafficking to freeze the funds.  The Mexican request to return the 110 million U.S. dollars wasn’t even filed in Swiss courts until December 2007.

As of yesterday, Swiss Federal Examining Magistrate Paul Perraudin, ordered 74 million dollars turned over to the Mexican government, and considered the matter closed.

As Forbes reported:

The statement said the government was retaining 3.3 million Swiss francs ($3.2 million) from the frozen sums to cover the costs of the Swiss investigation since 1995.

In 2002 Switzerland gave Mexico its extensive files from its money-laundering investigation. The Mexican attorney general’s office said it would analyze the documents for its investigation into how Raul Salinas amassed millions of dollars while his brother was president.

Raul Salinas, now 66, was released from prison in 2005 after the overturning of his murder conviction for killing his former brother in law, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu.

He said at the time that his actions in keeping more than $100 million under false names in Swiss bank accounts were “very unfortunate” and “unforgivable.”

But he repeated his longstanding assertion that the money represented legitimate funds given him by business associates as part of an investment fund.

Carlos Salinas, Mexico’s president from 1988 to 1994, has not been charged with wrongdoing in the financial case. The former president denied any knowledge of the money.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 19 June 2008 6:06 pm

    When I was traveling in Mexico when Carls Salinas was president, he was universally hated by the masses, the working class folks. They knew he was bad. Good judges. Everywhere I went, people would be saying, “Carlos Salinas, he iz fawker”. They were right.

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