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Lawsuit claims L.A.-based private equity firm knowingly sold a northern Mexico manufacturing plant controlled by Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

June 16, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Lawsuit claims L.A.-based private equity firm knowingly sold a northern Mexico manufacturing plant controlled by Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

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A private equity firm based in L.A. sold a manufacturing plant in the Mexican city of Reynosa without disclosing that drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman managed it – and without revealing that it was suing its previous owner for the same thing, the most recent buyer argued in Federal Court.

Plaintiff FINSA Portfolios, a real estate company in Mexico, asserts that lead defendant OpenGate Capital has “a documented history of illegal and unscrupulous practices.”

Four years ago, OpenGate Capital filed a lawsuit against Thermo Fisher in Federal Court on related charges.

That CNS report stated: “Thermo Fisher Scientific sold a Mexican manufacturing plant to investors without telling them a drug cartel had taken over the factory in Reynosa. OpenGate Capital Group and three RoundRock entities sued Thermo Fisher in Federal Court.”

Lawsuit alleges the L.A.-based private equity sold a manufacturing plant in the Mexican city of Reynosa without disclosing that drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is seen here during his arrest in 2016, managed used the facility for criminal means

In the lawsuit filed on Monday, FINSA Portfolios claims it paid $15 million to OpenGate Capital for the manufacturing plant in Reynosa, located across the border from McAllen, Texas. FINSA also filed a suit against three RoundRock entities and Hamilton Scientific. It argued that OpenGate sold it the plant without mentioning their legal action against Thermo Fisher.

Both suits filed four years apart, outline similar acts of terrorism from the Sinaloa cartel, Courthouse News reported.

FINSA stated in the complaint: “On a daily basis, the Reynosa facility was infiltrated by local leaders of the cartel.

On an ongoing basis, the lawsuit claims ‘El Chapo’s’ Sinaloa Cartel operatives terrorized the employees at the facility and treated the facility as their private refuge from rival cartels and law enforcement.

“‘El Chapo’ even maintained a personal residence behind the facility,” according to the court documents.

A Mexican real estate company, claims lead defendant OpenGate Capital has “a long-documented history of illegal, unethical and unscrupulous business practices.”

OpenGate Capital added in its 2013 lawsuit against Thermo Fisher that the company “acted in bad faith to induce plaintiffs to purchase its Lab Workstation Business in 2012, by concealing information related to the safety, security, and operation of the business, including that its facility has been overrun by a violent and hostile drug cartel.”

Now FINSA is arguing that “OpenGate perpetrated the same fraud that it was in the midst of prosecuting against Thermo Fisher.”

As part of its sale to FINSA, OpenGate leased the property to Hamilton Scientific, which served as a guarantor of a $120,881 a month lease. However, OpenGate neglected to reveal that Hamilton Scientific was on the verge of collapse. “Then, as soon as OpenGate’s first rental payment to FINSA was due, less than a month after entering into the 10-year lease, OpenGate failed to pay and shut down the guarantor, Hamilton Scientific.”

OpenGate sold Hamilton Scientific, and it was turned into a business called Hamilton Laboratory Solutions to evade creditors, according to FINSA. Hamilton Laboratory Solutions is the defendant in the new suit.

FINSA is seeking damages for fraud, fraudulent concealment, promissory fraud and breach of contract.

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