Finance International News Opinons

Cartel Received Tax Break from Mexican Government, Says Watchdog

Mexico gave a substantial tax break to a company owned by a convicted money launderer with Los Zetas Cartel, an anti-corruption organization stated in their latest report. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) denied the assertion and claimed it was a bad faith effort to tarnish his administration.

Mexicanos Contra La Corrupcion y La Impunidad (MCCI) recently argued that Mexico’s Tax Office (SAT) gave a break of $92,561,000 pesos or $4.8 million USD to a gas station in Saltillo, Coahuila, owned by Juan Manuel “El Mono” Munoz, a convicted Los Zetas money launderer. The report released this week said Munoz owns a majority share of Mira Sierra, which benefited from a tax debt forgiveness procedure.

Munoz previously faced several indictments in the Western District of Texas in a money laundering case. Earlier this year, Munoz took part in a plea deal and became an informant in exchange for a lesser sentence. Munoz was also linked to former Coahuila Governor Humberto Moreira who was arrested and released in Spain in connection with his alleged dealings with Los Zetas.

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The report also points to tax breaks given to six businesses that took part in the large-scale embezzlement of government funds called “Estafa Maestra,” where corrupt officials were able to divert $400 million pesos. According to the report, six of those companies received tax breaks to the tune of $190 million USD this year.

In response to the allegations, AMLO said the information was erroneous and the companies were forgiven their assessments when federal officials determined collection to be impossible, Proceso reported. In Proceso’s article, authorities claimed there was no preferential treatment.

Story cited here.