Former Mexican governor captured in Panama for corruption

Roberto Borge

Hours before taking a flight from Tocumen airport via Paris, Mexican politician and former governor of Quintana Roo, Roberto Borge, was arrested on Sunday, June 4 and taken to the Directorate of Judicial Investigation of the Panamanian National Police. International justice sought him for having carried out operations with resources of illicit origin.

"The arrest was obtained because of the red card requested from Interpol, for having an arrest warrant", issued by a federal court, the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Today, Borge is still being held at the Panamanian police headquarters until it is known whether he will be extradited to Mexico, where he would be tried for the use of 50 million dollars of public resources and property.

According to investigations by the Mexican Attorney's Office, the 37-year-old politician is involved in the purchase of state land at next to nothing prices in tourist areas of the Caribbean State of Quintana Roo.

Embezzlement of public money, an own airline paid with taxes or the plundering of natural resources, are on the list of what is the biggest scandal in the only Caribbean territory of Mexico, which also involved four other accomplices, sought by Interpol .

The research published by Televisa indicates that in 2011, shortly after taking office for the first time, Borge ceded to a group of friends four plots of about 14 hectares within the ecological reserve of Cozumel, a paradisiac Caribbean island.

"Specifically, the State Heritage Institute of Quintana Roo, one of the government tentacles, sold a close friend of the family two plots of more than 20,000 square meters on the island for about $ 5 a square meter - some 12,300 in total-, when its real price is around 80 dollars”, says El País. The buyer was lawyer César Celso González Hermosillo, who was in charge of defending the politician's father when he was imprisoned for fraud in 1994.

The member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which also includes the president of Mexico, Henrique Peña Nieto, ruled Quintana Roo from 2011 to 2016.

A similar case occurred last April when the former Mexican governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, was arrested in Guatemala for a millionaire embezzlement, reason why he could face a sentence of between 40 to 55 years of jail, according to the assistant attorney of International Affairs of The federal prosecutor of Mexico, Alberto Elías Beltrán.

French flag in Panama

At nearly 9 pm last Sunday, Panamanian security forces approached a French flag plane at Tocumen airport in Panama City.

The PRI member had arrived in Panama 11 days ago, at the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower, where the most expensive apartments in the country are located, according to El Universal de México. It cost the politician, about $ 598 a night.

However, it is unknown whether Borge was in the country on business or pleasure, as he was seen repeatedly making use of hotel areas such as the pool, and attending restaurants such as El Dubai.

Mexican authorities revealed that for the capture of Borge, the cybernetic, technological and financial tracing was decisive for him and his first circle, which included his sentimental partner, Gabriela Medrano Galindo, a former federal deputy, and Alán García, a private assistant to Borge, who uploaded social networks photographs of places where they had been with Borge, such as Miami, Bahamas and Panama, according to El Financiero.

"I am not in agreement, honorable magistrate"

So the Mexican former governor responded last Wednesday in a hearing before the High Court of Appeal in Panama City to determine whether he accepted his extradition to Mexico, according to El País.

Since the decision of the Panama Court of Appeals Borge entered within a period of 60 days for his country to request his extradition formally. Mexico has indicated that it will effectively issue an application within the time limit, something that has been rejected by the accused.

According to Mexican media, his extradition could take up to a year.

Recommended for You