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Salinas files to be transferred to Mexico

Raul Salinas is serving a murder sentence in Mexico Keystone

The Swiss dossier on the activities of Raul Salinas, the brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas, is to be passed to Mexico.

The federal court threw out an appeal by Salinas and his wife Paulina Castanon against the transfer of the documents.

It said it could not hear the couple’s appeal because they are not resident in Switzerland.

The court’s ruling paves the way for almost 300 files to be sent to Mexico where Salinas is serving a 27-year sentence for murder.

Salinas had been under investigation in Switzerland for suspected drug trafficking and money laundering.

The case against him was wrapped up earlier this year, but $105 million (SFr173 million) of funds linked to Salinas remain blocked in Swiss bank accounts.

The Mexican authorities are trying to discover if the funds have a criminal origin.

Swiss investigation

The Swiss case against Salinas and his wife was opened in 1995 by the then federal prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte.

It was taken over in 1999 by Geneva Judge Paul Perraudin, who completed his investigations in May.

In June, at Perraudin’s instigation, Switzerland asked Mexico to take over the case.

The Swiss authorities launched their investigation following a tip-off from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

In November 1995 Salinas’s wife and her brother, Antonio Castanon, were arrested after trying to make a withdrawal from a Geneva bank using false identification papers.

Swiss prosecutors later dropped the case against them because drug and money laundering charges could not be proved.

But Perraudin did succeed in formally charging Salinas with money laundering in 2001.

However, the Swiss investigation was plagued with difficulties, including the disappearance of a key witness last year before he was due to fly to Geneva.

swissinfo with agencies

The Swiss federal court has turned down an appeal by Raul Salinas and his wife, Paulina Castanon, against the transfer of case files to Mexico. The couple had been under investigation in Switzerland for drug trafficking and money laundering offences. The ruling means Mexico can now take over the Swiss investigation, which was wound up earlier this year.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR