The President of Mexico has announced the country will start legal proceedings to have drug lord El Chapo’s fortune returned to the country after it was seized by the American authorities.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador made the announcement in a press conference held at the National Palace in the Mexican capital Mexico City on Wednesday.
He told reporters: “The decision was taken about doing the paperwork and to carry out the legal procedure to have the goods seized from drug traffickers and white-collar criminals not to be left abroad, to be brought back to the Mexican people.”
The president added that a complete inventory of the Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s fortune “with real evidence” was needed as “people talk a lot about the wealth of Guzman and others, but evidence is needed”.
He added: “It doesn’t matter if Guzman’s fortune is large or not, we are going to deal with getting it back to the country. Moreover, he has already requested it, and we also need to know if the lawyer who made it public was authorised to make this commitment.”
Obrador said that previous administrations had not requested the return of seized goods and money but added that current Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard had already spoken about the issue with the US authorities.
The statement comes after the drug lord reportedly asked, through his lawyers, for his seized fortune to be given to Mexico’s indigenous communities.
Guzman’s lawyers, Jose Luis Gonzalez Meza and Juan Pablo Badillo Soto, claimed the request was made during phone calls between the drug lord and his mother, sister and daughters on 19th and 26th August.
Gonzalez Meza said: “The most important thing is that he said that he agreed the money that the Government of the United States wanted to take from him, a country that valued his fortune at more than 12 billion USD (9.8 billion GBP), should stay in Mexico, because Mexico owns it, as it was generated in the country.”
Gonzalez Meza said he did not know the value of Guzman’s fortune but said the United States had valued it at 12 billion USD.
Guzman was was jailed on 17th July in the maximum-security federal prison of ADX Florence in Colorado, United States, after being sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years by a New York court.
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.