Raúl Salinas de Gortari

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Raúl Salinas de Gortari (born August 24, 1946[1]) is a Mexican businessman who spent ten years in prison accused of the murder of his brother-in-law, José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, but was acquitted in 2005.[2] He is the brother of former President of Mexico Carlos Salinas.

Salinas de Gortari was included in a list of the "10 most corrupt Mexicans" published by Forbes in 2013.[3]

Arrest and imprisonment[edit]

In February 1995, Raúl Salinas was arrested and charged with masterminding the murder of José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the deputy leader of the PRI ruling party. Salinas was the former brother-in-law of Ruiz Massieu, who had been married to Raúl's sister Adriana.[4] In January 1999, Salinas was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison (later reduced to 27.5 years).[5] In June 2005, Salinas had his conviction overturned by a judicial panel and he was released from prison.[6]

President Carlos Salinas appointed Deputy Attorney General Mario Ruiz Massieu, the brother of the assassinated man, to head the investigation of the murder. However, after a few months he resigned, claiming senior PRI officials were blocking the investigation. Later, Ruiz Massieu fled the country, but was arrested in Newark, New Jersey on money-laundering charges. He died in September 1999, apparently by suicide.[7]

Alleged money laundering[edit]

In November 1995, Raúl Salinas's wife, Paulina Castañón, and his brother-in-law, Antonio Castañón, were arrested in Geneva, Switzerland after attempting to withdraw $84 million USD from an account owned by Raúl under an alias. Their capture led to the unveiling of a vast fortune spread around the world and summing to hundreds of millions of dollars even though he never officially received an annual income of more than $190,000. A report by the US General Accounting Office indicated that Raúl Salinas transferred over $90 million out of Mexico and into private bank accounts in London and Switzerland, through a complex set of transactions between 1992 and 1994, all with the help of Citibank and its affiliates.[8]

In 2008, the government of Switzerland turned over $74 million out of the $110 million in frozen bank accounts held by Raúl Salinas, to the government of Mexico. The Swiss Justice Ministry indicated that the Mexican government had demonstrated that $66 million of the funds had been misappropriated, and the funds, with interest, were returned to Mexico. The bank accounts were held at Pictet & Cie, Citibank Zurich, Julius Baer Bank, and Banque privée Edmond de Rothschild in Geneva and Zurich.[9][10][11]

Other funds were returned to third parties, including Mexican billionaire Carlos Peralta Quintero, who had given the funds to Raúl Salinas to set up an investment company. The Salinas family would not receive back any of the frozen funds.[2] However, in July 2013 a court exonerated Salinas of "unjust enrichment" and ordered that 224 million pesos (approximately $18 million) and 41 properties be returned to him. The court said that it could not explain how Salinas accumulated such wealth, but said that "so long as it is not shown that the assets acquired by public employee Raul Salinas de Gortari are proceeds derived from an abuse of his position," that he cannot be convicted of "unjust enrichment."[12]

On December 6, 2004, Enrique Salinas de Gortari, the brother of Raúl Salinas de Gortari, was found dead in his car after apparently having been beaten and strangled. Prosecutors said that Enrique Salinas had been sought for questioning by French police regarding his financial transactions with Raúl Salinas. However, investigators indicated that they thought the killing was a botched extortion attempt on him.[13][14]


  1. ^ Ortiz Pinchetti, Francisco (March 6, 1995). "Juntos crecieron, juntos jugaron, juntos viajaron, juntos paladearon la gloria; hoy, Raúl y Carlos Salinas encaran el naufragio". Proceso (in Spanish) (957): 21.
  2. ^ a b "Salinas funds finally head back to Mexico". swissinfo. Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  3. ^ "The 10 Most Corrupt Mexicans Of 2013". Forbes. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  4. ^ Salinas' Brother Charged in Mexican Assassination New York Times March 1, 1995 [1]
  5. ^ Raul Salinas Guilty in Killing And Is Sentenced to 50 Years New York Times January 22, 1999 [2]
  6. ^ Mexico Voids Conviction of Ex-President's Brother Los Angeles Times June 10, 2005 [3]
  7. ^ Mario Ruiz Massieu; As victim or perpetrator, he sank in a mire of murder, bribery and drug trafficking The Guardian September 1999 [4]
  8. ^ United States General Accounting Office (October 1998). "PRIVATE BANKING: Raul Salinas, Citibank, and Alleged Money Laundering" (PDF).
  9. ^ Rodriguez Reyna, Ignacio. "He put his trust in Switzerland and Citibank". Frontline. PBS.
  10. ^ Jordan, David C. (1999). Drug Politics: Dirty Money and Democracies. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-8061-3174-0.
  11. ^ "Switzerland's 12-Year Probe of Salinas Ends with $74 Million Payment" (PDF). Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.[dead link]
  12. ^ Symbol of impunity: Raúl Salinas the "Inconvenient Relative" of President Carlos Salinas Borderline Beat August 5, 2013 [5]
  13. ^ McKinley, James C., Jr. (December 10, 2004). "Salinas Killing Deepens the Family's Drama". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Dellios, Hugh (December 16, 2004). "Scent of a conspiracy bedevils Mexico murder". Chicago Tribune.
  • Oppenheimer, Andres. Bordering on Chaos. New York: Little, Brown, 1996. ISBN 0-316-65095-1.

External links[edit]