What happened? Is it because you had this relationship with Raul Salinas,
or your father had this relationship with the Salinas family in general?
That's where this all started?
Hank is a Mexican billionaire businessman who owns majority shares in the Laredo
National Bank in Laredo, Texas. The Hank family was publicly linked to
drug trafficking after a U.S. government raw intelligence report about the
family was leaked to the press. The family strongly denies the
allegations. Updated information on Carlos Hank Rhon is available elsewhere on the Web. This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted in 2000.
I think that's where it started. I had been in relation with the Fed, I've
been the owner of the bank for many years. But I think they began to get
worried about me owning a bank because of this problem, you know? And I guess
it's everything together--knowing my father working for Salinas, myself being a
friend of Carlos Salinas and Raul Salinas. So in the beginning, I understood
why they were worried, because they say, well, they heard this in the press,
Raul Salinas is in jail in Mexico because they think he killed he somebody and
he embezzled some money. Also up till now, fortunately for him, they haven't
been able to prove anything. But anyway, at that time it was a big issue.
So I understood why they wanted to know a little bit more about me, why they
were worried. Also up till now, fortunately for him, they haven't been able to
prove anything. But anyway, at that time it was a big issue. So I understood
why they wanted to know a little bit more about me, why they were worried. But
then, when they began asking questions and then began implying that I had done
some illicit things, then I began to get worried and to get mad, because I
mean, I knew how I was, and they were getting a picture of myself that was
But your involvement, I mean your name really had never surfaced before,
until the Citibank bank account of Raul Salinas. I guess maybe if you could
explain how you came to be at Citibank and then why you brought Raul
...I introduced Raul Salinas to Citibank, it was one of those things that we
were having breakfast together and he asked me, "Where do you bank--with which
banks do you bank in Mexico and outside?" And I told him about Citibank. So
he said, "Well, I would like to meet with them, if you don't mind." So one day
we came together, by coincidence, to New York, and I introduced Raul to the
people in Citibank.
The story is that you helped open the account by giving him a check, or
To be honest, I don't know exactly how he opened the account. There is what
you call a trust . . . made by Raul Salinas, where he gathered some money from
different friends of [his] or different businesspeople, to do business in the
future, after his brother was in office--after he left the office. I don't
know exactly how he opened the account, [how] he used the money, if he used a
different money. That's what they say, but I couldn't--
But then did you give him some money?
Yes. I did. I invested with him, like, $9,000,000... His idea was to make
a fund to develop new businesses. He invited--I couldn't tell you exactly how
many people, but around 10 people--to invest in the fund that he was going to
manage and promote after his brother left the office of the Presidency. Why
did I invest with him? Because I thought it was a good investment. They had
very good contacts, they're very bright people. So that was the reason.
Was there a contract or a receipt or some kind of agreement?
No. It was just a conversation and an idea that he was developing. Probably
sounds a little bit strange in the States, a fund of that kind of management.
But in Mexico it's not so unheard of, no? Once you get a close relationship
with someone in business or in family, some of the deals are done without even
Were the families close? I mean, did you grow up together?
I met Carlos Salinas in preparatory, high school-- the last years of high
school. We were probably, what? 18. No, probably less. Like 15 or so. And
we went to the same preparatory school in Mexico. I was in the same year as
Carlos. Raul was a year above us. And then we were together again in the
university. In the university, [I was] more with Raul, because Raul was
studying engineering, the same as I did, and Carlos was studying economy. So
yeah, we are friends for many years.
It's been published that some of the money you sent to him, you sent in one
of his aliases that he was using in one of his accounts. Was that unusual? I
mean, it appears unusual.
Well, the idea was that he was going to have a fund, so it was kind of sending
the money to one account that I didn't even know to whom it belonged...
So the idea was that after Carlos left office, he would in some way, because
he was then a private individual, he would be able to use his prestige, as well
as with his brother, to make more money.
I think so.
And the idea of sending money to an alias didn't bother you?
Well, at that time, I didn't know it was an alias. I thought it was somebody
that he was using for the fund. So at that time, it didn't bother me...
So you don't believe that any of this money that Raul accumulated was drug
I don't. I mean, I don't-- I couldn't swear. But I don't believe so.
Well, from my point of view, if you can make money legally, if you're a smart
guy, you live much happier than trying to do it other ways. If you cannot,
well, probably there's some guys that are prepared to do it that way. But I
know that Raul and Carlos are bright people. They understand business and
politics very well. So I really wouldn't see any need for doing something
This is the original White Tiger Report, which has set off most of the other
things. In fact, some of the words in here are lifted and later on appear
apparently in the IC Report. Here's the synopsis:
"Carlos Hank Gonzales and his two sons, Carlos Hank Rhon and Jorge Hank
Rhon, have long been the subject of investigations relating to political
corruption, bribery, income tax violations, money laundering, racketeering, and
corrupt organizations. The Hank family controls a consortium of businesses
which have a financial link with a major Mexican drug trafficking
Where would they come from?
It's difficult. And I think I told you, the last time we met, that it has been
really difficult for me to find out where do they come from, because as you can
imagine, I am very worried and disappointed and angry at these things. But I
haven't been able to find where do they come from.
Because with this thing, I think, like about two years, in our holidays, we
were talking to someone. I really did a lot of thinking. I [said], "Jesus,
did I do something really wrong? I mean, I don't think so, but am I wrong and
trying not to accept something that I did?" And to be honest, I came to the
conclusion that it was the wrong perception that I had to fight. But I am very
at ease with myself, very sure that I have done nothing wrong...
Recently the Federal Election Commission fined Gary Jacobs and the Bank.
For what, and why?
I think he gave money to the Republican Party that probably he shouldn't given,
or the amount was a little more than what he was allowed, something like that.
And they were fined.
As I understand it, he gave money, and then he was reimbursed by the
I think so. Yes.
Which technically, since you're the main owner of the Bank, would have you
giving a contribution, you know, indirectly.
Yeah, I check it out, because it also worried me, and I wasn't aware of it in
detail. But apparently, no, I didn't give any authorization. And what the
lawyers believe is that that has nothing to do with me...
If you have a difficulty it's that, in the American idiom, where there's so
much smoke, people will say there must be fire.
Yeah. We have a similar saying...
And in my contacts with law enforcement people in purposes of research, they
say to me, "You don't have this many coincidences of informants coming forward
and saying, 'There's drug money here, there's drug connection here, the name is
connected to it in some fashion.' There must be something."
I'm completely sure there's nothing in my case, but as I told you, I mean
people sometimes say things that they cannot prove and it's very difficult to
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