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Swiss judge visits indicted brother of ex-Mexican president

Geneva judge Paul Perraudin (second from left) met with Raul Salinas in his Mexican prison

(Keystone)

A Geneva judge has visited the jailed brother of a former Mexican president to inform him of an indictment for drug trafficking and other charges. Raul Salinas allegedly hid $130 million (SFr 226 million) in Swiss bank accounts under false names.

Swiss judge Paul Perraudin met with Salinas on Monday in the Almoloya prison. Perraudin questioned the prisoner for over 10 hours, asking him about the origin of the money.

The judge believes the funds come from drug trafficking. Salinas' lawyer, Jose Luis Nassar, says the money is part of an investment fund created by his client's friends.

Salinas is serving a 27-year sentence for ordering the 1994 murder of his former brother-in-law, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, who was secretary-general of Mexico's former ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The party ruled Mexico for 71 years until last December. Salinas' brother, Carlos, ended his presidential term in 1994.

Self-imposed exile

Allegations of drug trafficking have followed the Salinas brothers since then. Because of the allegations and his unpopularity, Carlos left for self-imposed exile in Ireland and Cuba after his brother was arrested.

The trafficking charges stem from deposits allegedly made by Raul Salinas in Switzerland. The Geneva authorities froze the money in 1998 on the suspicion it came from drug cartels in Mexico and Columbia.

The investigation turned up additional bank accounts in Mexico, and showed that Salinas had started companies using false identities.

Funds could go to Switzerland

The Swiss deposits were discovered when Raul Salinas' wife, Paulina Castanon, tried to make a withdrawal using fake identification papers.

Perraudin will meet with Mexican officials on Tuesday to inform them about his investigations. Members of the Mexican attorney general's office will also visit Switzerland in the next two weeks.

If authorities prove that the money in the Swiss accounts came from activities related to drug trafficking, some of the funds would pass to the Swiss government.

swissinfo with agencies

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