MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — Federal authorities have received $640,000 for a South Padre Island luxury condominium linked to a former Mexican governor who's accused of money laundering.
The 1,946-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom oceanfront condo that federal officials say was linked to former Tamaulipas Gov. Tomas Yarrington was auctioned off Friday. About 50 people attended, The Monitor of McAllen (http://bit.ly/148D4So ) reported.
Yarrington is accused of money laundering in the U.S. through entities that were not in his name, but no criminal charges have been filed. He is also under investigation in Mexico for corruption allegations, and is a fugitive.
Yarrington was governor of the state of Tamaulipas, bordering south Texas, between 1999 and 2005. The charges in Mexico follow allegations by U.S. prosecutors that Yarrington accepted millions of dollars in bribes from Gulf and Zetas drug cartels while in public office "and from various extortion or bribery schemes," and invested the money in Texas real estate.
Civil actions filed by U.S. authorities allege that Yarrington used various front men and businesses "to become a major real estate investor through various money laundering mechanisms," according to court documents.
U.S. authorities won civil forfeiture claims on the fully furnished apartment, a private plane, a $2 million house in McAllen and cash in a Bermuda account. Proceeds from seizures routinely go to law enforcement agencies involved in the cases.
People linked to Yarrington were barred from taking part in the auction.
The auctioneer started bids at $1 million, but had to lower the starting price to $250,000 for anyone to bite. It quickly progressed to about half a million dollars, and eventually, a woman who said she was working for a client in San Antonio placed the winning $640,000 bid.
The auction price is about $2,000 more than the appraised value; an identical unit on the same floor is priced $80,000 higher.
Information from: The Monitor, http://www.themonitor.com