HomeNewsBriefMexico Supreme Court Ruling Pushes Back Against US 'Kingpin List'
BRIEF

Mexico Supreme Court Ruling Pushes Back Against US 'Kingpin List'

MEXICO / 5 OCT 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN AND MIKE LASUSA EN

Mexico's Supreme Court has declared it unconstitutional to freeze the bank accounts of organized crime suspects without sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, a seeming attempt to push back against the US Treasury Department's recent blacklisting of two Mexican celebrities.

On October 4, the Supreme Court announced in a press release that it had ruled article 115 of Mexico's Law on Credit Institutions unconstitutional.

The provision allowed financial authorities to freeze the bank accounts of individuals or companies alleged to have links with organized crime. However, the Supreme Court ruled that this practice violates defendants' rights to be presumed innocent and to be guaranteed a fair trial. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles 

The ruling follows the August designation of Mexican professional soccer star Rafael Márquez Álvarez and famous Mexican singer Julio César Álvarez Montelongo to the US Treasury Department's "Kingpin List." The Treasury Department said the two men "acted as front persons" and "held assets" for a Mexican drug trafficking organization. 

Shortly after the US blacklisting, the celebrities' bank accounts in Mexico were frozen. A judge ruled to unfreeze several of Márquez Álvarez's accounts on September 28. Álvarez Montelongo will likely see his accounts unfrozen as a result of the Supreme Court's latest ruling. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

The Supreme Court's ruling highlights longstanding concerns about the impact of Kingpin List designations, and may be an attempt to partially shield Mexican citizens from some of their effects.

The US government says the sanctions are intended "to deny significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their related businesses, and their operatives access to the US financial system and all trade and transactions involving US companies and individuals."

However, as was seen in the case of Márquez Álvarez and Álvarez Montelongo, Kingpin List designations can have impacts outside the United States as well. The US sanctions are often followed by asset seizures and the freezing of suspects' bank accounts in foreign countries where they may not have been charged or convicted of any crime.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Money Laundering

Critics say that Kingpin List designations often wrongfully target individuals or entities that haven't committed crimes. Indeed, earlier this year the United States was forced to remove more than 20 businesses and individuals from the list in part due to what one person formerly facing the sanctions called a "lack of rigor" in the Treasury Department's evidence gathering.

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

GULF CARTEL / 30 AUG 2021

It was a Saturday, around 12:30 p.m. local time, when a caravan of three vehicles loaded with well-armed men and…

GUATEMALA / 4 FEB 2022

A former Guatemala mayor and his family have been accused of smuggling more than a dozen migrants later massacred in…

FEATURED / 22 OCT 2020

Despite having long played down the presence of the powerful Jalisco Cartel in Mexico City, a series of recent moves…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…