HomeNewsBriefMoney Laundering Allegations Dog Mexico's Cruz Azul Soccer Club
BRIEF

Money Laundering Allegations Dog Mexico's Cruz Azul Soccer Club

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 JUN 2020 BY JUAN DIEGO POSADA EN

Although the Mexican soccer league has canceled the rest of its season, one of its most acclaimed clubs has remained in the headlines as three of its directors are being investigated for corruption.

On May 29, Mexico's Financial Intelligence Unit (Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera - UIF) froze the accounts of Cruz Azul, one of the country's most important cement companies and owner of the eponymous soccer team, for alleged links to money laundering and organized crime.

Three company directors are being investigated for financial irregularities involving up to 1.2 billion pesos ($55 million): Guillermo Álvarez, who is also the president of the team, his brother Alfredo Álvarez and Víctor Garcés.

SEE ALSO: Soccer: The Tainted King of Sports Takes the World Stage

Investigators allege that false invoices were used to funnel proceeds from the company to shell companies. The money was then used to buy real estate in the United States, according to UIF director Santiago Nieto in an interview with W Radio.

The cement company's board of directors spoke to the UIF in March 2020 about accusations that Guillermo Álvarez had "looted" millions of pesos and then diverted the money to the United States and Spain, La Jornada reported.

On May 30, the company's spokesperson, Jorge Álvarez, denied the allegations, telling the newspaper Récord that "the accusations are without basis and without any evidence."

At first, investigators were careful to make a difference between the Cruz Azul cement company and the soccer team, even unfreezing the team's accounts so it could pay its employees.

But on June 2, Nieto stated the club was formally part of the investigation.

InSight Crime Analysis

Soccer and corruption have long gone hand-in-hand in Mexico but this new process has led to fears that Cruz Azul, one of the country's most popular clubs, could be kicked out of the league altogether.

In September 2019, Nieto first warned of financial irregularities detected inside Mexican clubs and that the UIF was investigating.

The investigation into Guillermo Álvarez could imperil the club's league status, with the regulations of the Mexican Football Federation (Federación Mexicana de Fútbol - FMF) stating that a club can lose its membership "if the owner and/or the officers of the club" are involved in criminal acts."

For the moment, the Mexican soccer league, Liga MX, appears to be standing by the club. While Guillermo Álvarez is being removed as club president, he was not the sole owner of the team meaning that Cruz Azul could likely remain in the league with new leadership.

SEE ALSO: Juarez Cartel Operator a Player in International Soccer Deals

Legendary soccer figures such as Jorge Campos, the national team's former goalkeeper, have spoken out about corruption in the sport. In an interview with ESPN in May, he denounced the "mafia and corruption" inside Mexican football, stating that "the friends of [club] presidents" are pulling the strings.

Drug trafficking has also been connected to Mexican soccer. In 2018, during the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, alias “El Chapo,” one of the drug lord's partners, Tirso Martínez Sánchez, alias “El Futbolista,” confessed to having been the owner of several Mexican teams, including Querétaro, Celaya, Irapuato and La Piedad, that were used as fronts to launder money.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CHINA AND CRIME / 11 SEP 2015

An enormous money laundering scheme in China involving Colombian nationals highlights the growing interaction between Chinese and Latin American…

COLOMBIA / 11 JAN 2018

US authorities have issued new security warnings for individuals traveling to several Latin American countries, thereby implicitly admitting to failures…

MEXICO / 23 NOV 2016

Barely one out of every ten cases of reported oil theft in Mexico is presented before a judge, a striking…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…