Mexican State Alleges Ex-Governor Bought Houston-Area Homes With Stolen Money

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The Mexican state of Veracruz filed civil lawsuits this week alleging that dozens of Houston-area properties were bought with millions of dollars stolen by the state’s now-jailed former governor.

Javier Duarte de Ochoa has been charged by Mexican authorities with diverting nearly $3 billion from the coffers of the oil-rich southeastern state into various shell companies and properties around the world, according to statements from the Mexican attorney general. The civil suits filed this week allege some of that money was laundered through land and suburban houses in The Woodlands and Spring.

Houston attorney Anthony Buzbee, a trial lawyer who has been hired to represent the Veracruz government in its separate civil litigation, said there were various ways in which Duarte hid money.

“Sometimes it was suitcases of money,” Buzbee said. “Sometimes it was fake contracts to buddies and shell companies. Sometimes it was ‘We’re going to build this road and allocate $100 million’ and then the road was never built.”

“The challenge is finding all of it,” he said.

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