After a first failed attempt, Carlos Ahumada will be extradited to Mexico accused of tax embezzlement of 1.4 million pesos, about $ 63,000. The Mexico City Prosecutor’s Office confirmed this Wednesday that a Buenos Aires judge has given free rein to the transfer of the Argentine businessman who at the beginning of the 2000s put the Mexican left in check by airing some videos in which heavyweights of the PRD appeared, the party then in power in the capital, receiving money in Ahumada’s office in exchange for public contracts in Mexico City. The extradition is only pending Ahumada’s possible challenge to the Argentine judge’s ruling.
The businessman had already escaped a first threat of extradition in extremis. Arrested in 2019 in the Argentine capital, a judge acquitted him of fraud charges and released him. Shortly after being released, Ahumaba slipped in an interview with EL PAÍS that behind his judicial persecution was “López Obrador’s revenge.” Among the politicians exhibited in those 2004 videos were very close collaborators of the current Mexican president, at that time in charge of the capital’s government by the PRD. The controversy unleashed one of López Obrador’s greatest crises as president of Mexico City, a blow to his greatest political asset: the fight against corruption.
Among high-ranking officials named were, for example, René Bejarano, one of López Obrador’s main operators, or Carlos Imaz, former delegate of Tlalpan and former husband of the current mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum. The charges against Ahumada, according to the official statement, are limited to tax fraud. But the case against the builder, owner of the Quartz group, could be broader. Weeks before his arrest two years ago at an airport in Buenos Aires, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) announced that it was preparing charges for extortion, fraud, forgery and the use of apocryphal documents.
Ahumada became part of the innermost circle of the power nucleus of the PRD, the classic party of the Mexican left that broke the PRI hegemony in the country’s capital in 1997. His construction company received several public works contracts during different administrations of the PRD in Mexico City. One of them, the stage as head of Government of Rosario Robles (1999-2000) with whom Ahumada maintained a sentimental relationship.
Robles would end up moving to the ranks of the PRI, where he held the secretariats of Social Development and Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development in the Peña Nieto Cabinet, and would also launch a legal offensive against his ex-partner in 2013 for extortion and fraud. Robles has been in preventive detention since 2019 for his alleged participation in the Master Scam, a plot of millionaire deviations from the secretariats of State through public universities.
The judicial soap opera of Ahumada refers in any case to much earlier. After the publication of the controversial videos, the Mexican justice begins its search and capture. The businessman was on the run for 20 days until he was arrested in Cuba, also by Interpol, at the end of March 2004. Ahumada was extradited to Mexico and was in prison for a short time. He was released in 2007, during the administration of Marcelo Ebrard, today López Obrador’s chancellor, at the head of the Federal District. That same year he returned to Argentina to settle in the province of Córdoba, where he undertook new businesses also sprinkled with controversy.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.