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Wife of Mexican politician Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda arrested in Texas for alleged $50 million money laundering scheme

May 27, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Wife of Mexican politician Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda arrested in Texas for alleged $50 million money laundering scheme

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The wife of Mexican lawmaker Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda who at one point worked as the Secretary of Finance of the State of Tabasco in Mexico and is wanted in the U.S. on charges of money laundering was arrested this week in Houston.

An unsealed federal criminal indictment identified Pineda, a former Tabasco Secretary of Finance, his wife Silvia Beatriz Perez Ceballo, and colleague Martin Alberto Medina Sonda.

Justice Department officials said in a statement that the three have been charged with conspiring to launder money and bank fraud. Saiz Pineda and Medina Sonda are at a prison in Tabasco for their role in a public corruption case.

Jose Manuel Saiz Pineda worked as the secretary of finance from 2007 to 2012 under former Governor Andres Granier Melo from Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.

José Manuel Saíz Pineda, former Secretary of Finance, during his transfer to the Social Rehabilitation Center of the State of Tabasco, where he was confined to the legal process imputed to him by the Mexican Attorney General

Granier Melo was apprehended in 2013 in Mexico on charges of embezzlement and corruption.

Despite the politician’s assertions otherwise, courts in Mexico have ruled against him. Mexico’s PRI has a long past of corruption and links with drug cartels including two former governors who are wanted by U.S. officials on money laundering charges and several other cases that remain sealed.

While the indictment does not name Mexican cartels or bribes, the case was reviewed by the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force; which is a specialized unit that includes the U.S. DEA, the IRS, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and sheriffs in Harris County and Fort Bend County.

According to court records, federal prosecutors are seeking to seize bank accounts, condos and other properties in New York, Florida, California, and Texas; the assets are estimated to be worth over $50 million. Officials are also trying to seize another account in Bermuda all linked to Saiz Pineda and his colleagues.

The case against the politician is based on an indictment that was issued by a grand jury in Corpus Christi on April 26th. The case was under seal by the court until this week when federal agents apprehended Perez-Ceballos at her residence in Sugar Land, Texas, near Houston. The woman appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge who ruled that she remain in custody until a detention hearing is held next week.

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