U.S. seizes $2 million in Bermuda account linked to Mexican official

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 06, 2013 6:42 PM
U.S. seizes $2 million in Bermuda account linked to Mexican official

MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. authorities seized over $2 million in a Bermuda bank account allegedly belonging to a fugitive Mexican official charged in a corruption case with stealing public funds, according to court papers released on Wednesday.

More than $2.2 million was seized from the account believed to have been held by Hector Javier Villarreal Hernandez, the former finance secretary in Mexico's Coahuila state, which borders Texas, Kenneth Magidson, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, said in a statement.

Hernandez allegedly stole the money from the state of Coahuila and deposited it into a Brownsville, Texas, bank account before transferring the funds to the account in Bermuda, according to a civil forfeiture complaint filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Hernandez served as finance secretary in Coahuila between June 2008 and August 2011, when he resigned and the Mexican government began an investigation into $246 million in fraudulent loans he obtained through forged state documents under his direction, Magidson said.

A judge in Coahuila charged him in the case in October 2011, when he was arrested and released on bond. He later fled and remains a fugitive in that case.

(Editing by Kevin Gray and Tim Dobbyn)