A prominent Mexican businessman accused of luring poor girls to his home was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years on child pornography charges in a case that tarnished the reputations of a state governor and another businessman.
Jean Succar Kuri, a legal U.S. resident who was extradited to Mexico in 2006, was convicted of child pornography and abuse of minors, a federal court in the Caribbean resort of Cancun announced. He was ordered to pay 85,837 pesos ($7,180) in fines and make payments of 350,000 pesos to each of the victims.
The court's statement gave no details on the evidence against Succar, who has denied the charges. His lawyer, Fernando Lechuga, said he would appeal.
Prosecutors said Succar lured poor girls to his home so that he and his friends could have sex with them.
Xavier Olea Perez, a lawyer for the victims, said the case involved seven minors who were photographed and videotaped in sexual positions.
"We think this is a historic resolution. As lawyers for the minors, we are very satisfied," he said.
But Lechuga said there were no pornographic videos included in the evidence against Succar. He acknowledged there was a video of Succar at a restaurant with one of the victims.
"I'm a little bit surprised," Lechuga said. "Everyone talks about the videos but there are no videos that demonstrate what people would consider pornography."
Targeted by an investigation in Mexico in 2003, Succar fled to the United States but was arrested during a traffic stop in Arizona in February 2004 and extradited two years later.
While he tried to fight extradition, the case gained notoriety following the arrest of Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho, who wrote a book about pedophilia in Cancun that linked Succar to a prominent businessman in the city of Puebla. Audio tapes were released apparently featuring then Puebla Gov. Mario Marin and the Puebla businessman plotting to jail Cacho.
Cacho, who was charged with libel and slander, was whisked 900 miles from Cancun by a caravan of Puebla state police, briefly jailed and charged with libel in December 2005.
She was eventually cleared of criminal charges. In 2007, Cacho won the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women's Media Foundation.
Some Mexicans had called for Marin's impeachment, but the Puebla state legislature, dominated by the governor's allies, declined to remove him. Marin's Institutional Revolutionary Party lost the Puebla state gubernatorial election last year for the first time in 80 years.