Warrant issued for Cruz Azul president accused of money laundering, links to organized crime

An arrest warrant has been issued by Mexico’s attorney general’s office for Cruz Azul president Guillermo Alvarez over possible involvement in financial fraud and organized crime, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

The arrest warrant was granted on Wednesday, with Alvarez accused of carrying out and orchestrating “operations with illicit resources.”

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Alvarez is set to be presented in front of a judge at the Altiplano maximum security prison in Estado de Mexico, although at the time of publishing there are no reports that the 74-year-old has been taken to the jail.

Alvarez, who is also the general director of the Cruz Azul cement corporation that runs the club, had his bank accounts frozen by the Mexican government’s financial fraud department (UIF) in May pending an investigation.

Four others associated with the company — Victor Garces, Miguel Eduardo Borrell, Mario Sanchez Alvarez and Martin Junquera — were also named in the arrest warrant.

The Mexican government was investigating bank transfers of close to $50 million USD to accounts in the United States and Spain; the purchase of 11 properties in the U.S.; the relationship with a player agent and the existence of two people named “Guillermo Alvarez” in the record, among other issues, reported ESPN’s Omar Flores and Leon Lecanda, who obtained access to the 81-page document relating to the investigation, back in May.

Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla stated in June that the allegations didn’t relate directly to the club and that Alvarez was still in charge and involved in decision-making at league level.

League regulations do state that the executive committee of the Mexican federation (FMF) could disaffiliate the club from Liga MX if club owners or directors are guilty of crimes, but it is based on the discretion of the committee and is reported to be unlikely.

Alvarez denied any wrongdoing in a video published by the club on June 7.

“They are totally false imputations and accusations that have been leaked against the company,” said Alvarez in a video published by the club.

The 74-year-old also suggested that other forces are seeking to destabilize him and the company.

“I join the energetic rejection of the defamation and slander to which our beloved company has been subjected,” said Alvarez. “Once again, [claims of] manipulation and defamation seek to alter our social peace, our obligations and economic rights as workers, generating an adverse media opinion that could have altered our course of success and development.”

Cruz Azul is considered one of Mexico’s “big four” clubs, but is without a Liga MX title since 1997.

Mexico’s financial fraud department (UIF) signed an agreement with Liga MX in November 2019 to attempt to work together to protect Mexican football against money laundering. Liga MX announced on June 4 that it met with the UIF to continue to work on the objective.

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