WHEN YOU ASKED RAUL SALINAS HOW HE COULD GET $50 MILLION WITHOUT ANY RECEIPTS,
WITHOUT ANY DOCUMENTS, WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU?
|Dr. Valentin Roschacher is Chief of the
Central Office for Narcotics of the Swiss National Police. He is in charge of
the Swiss investigation into Raul Salinas's millions of dollars in foreign bank
I'm not sure if I can remember exactly, but you know, we are living in
different worlds and I'm just a little -- I have my little salary every month
and he's a member of a rich family. He made $50 million, a big amount, and in
that situation I would make a contract, not only a handshake. But I have a
different role, different rules.
AND HE SAID HE WAS IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM YOU?
He's a man of noble background, yeah of course.
WHAT WAS HE LIKE?
Well, he belongs to a rich family, he lives in a society with rich people, but
I do not believe everything that I am being told. Because firstly, it's really
unbelievable. We do have rich people in Switzerland, that you leave alone
without doing pages of paperwork, without a conference would be a word --
signatures and certain things you have to pay back, how much interest and what
are the conditions and all that. But it's possible.
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO RAUL AND PAULINA? CAN THEY BE PROSECUTED CRIMINALLY
Why not? I don't know if they, if there's a job that they could appear in
Switzerland you know, if the Mexican authorities could expedite properly and a
Switzerland account manager because they had their own investigation, but this
type of money laundering or --
WHAT'S THE TRUTH HERE?
That's a very good question. I think, I told you before, we are going in the
right direction, and we think we can prove that drug proceeds were involved
with the money. I'm sorry about that. If we can find out the truth we will say
the truth, and I will protect nobody.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WILL PROTECT NOBODY?
You know, I do not care if there is a brother of a former president, if there
is a brother of an acting president or of a movie star or who else, I don't
care about names or positions or levels or whatever, if somebody is a crook and
I can prove that he is a crook I will do that. End of the story.
TAKING THIS CASE BEFORE A JUDGE....YOU MENTIONED..THAT'S YOUR REAL PROBLEM,
HERE IN SWITZERLAND. WHY?
You mentioned it before, when you started out the conversation, it's a huge
case and it's not a case we have in Switzerland every day. And when I started
this case and I heard the rumors about how it works in Mexico, who's protecting
who, and who gives money, and those drug loads of 10 tons of cocaine, 50 tons
of cocaine that pass through Mexico coming from Colombia, going over the Rio
Grande to the US - you know, for a Swiss cop or a Swiss judge it's
We have cases now that are becoming bigger too, but we have cases where they
are talking about three grams, five grams of heroin or cocaine and paying one
thousand Swiss francs or two thousand Swiss francs, and a case with 50 grams is
a big case. And now we are talking about thousands of multi tons and millions
in protection money and . . . and a Swiss judge, he has to learn, as I did when
I started the case, that this could be more. . . this could be reality, you
know, and . . . a judge has to learn, when he reads the protocols and in the
end he has to decide do I believe what the witness is saying or do I have my
doubts. And when you see this for the first time you think, there's somebody
kidding, this can't be the truth, it can't be...
And you know, in Switzerland normally we decided (laugh) between . . . here's
the cop and here's the crook and they are not the same, it's two different
people in Switzerland. It's unbelievable that in other countries they could be
the same person. So, I think that even the cops here in Switzerland, and the
judges and everybody else has to learn that it is possible and it happens. And
fortunately it does not happen here in Switzerland.
YOU ARRESTED PAULINA, RAUL SALINAS'S WIFE, ON NOVEMBER 15TH AT THE TRAIN
STATION IN GENEVA. COULD YOU DESCRIBE HOW YOU WENT ABOUT THIS.
She arrived in Geneva and went to the bank. The bank told her that it would not
be possible to do something with the money today. And then she left the bank,
and we did not know who she was, or who the guy was in her company, and what
she was planning to do. We didn't know when we saw her, we shadowed her of
course. And then we saw that she went to the train station, and then we had to
decide what to do. And it's quite difficult if you are not prepared to shadow
somebody, to follow them through Switzerland, you know, we did not have 20
policemen in Geneva in cars or on the train to follow her and so . . . we
decided to arrest her, and also to talk to her.
YOU SAID WE'RE ARRESTING YOU FOR.. FOR WHAT?
For . . . we opened the case against Raul Salinas for money laundering,
involvement in drug trafficking, and financing drug trafficking, and under this
title we arrested her too.
AND YOU KEPT HER IN PRISON FOR A MONTH, IN JAIL FOR A MONTH.
Yeah, about a month.
PAULINA CASTENON TODAY SAYS VERY ADAMANTLY THAT SHE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT HER
HUSBAND'S MONEY, SHE NEVER ASKED QUESTIONS, SHE ONLY ASSURED HERSELF THAT IT
WAS LEGAL, AND THAT WAS IT.
DO YOU BELIEVE HER?
We know this, a criminal investigation is not a matter of believing or not, we
have to find the proof. And until then I can't tell you if she's telling the
truth because I don't know. But in the end we . . . I think she will have to
explain a little bit more about the whole story.
YOU'VE GOT A TEN PAGE STATEMENT FROM RAUL SALINAS IN PRISON.... WHY DO YOU NOT
BELIEVE HIS VERSION WHICH IS THAT THIS IS LEGAL MONEY, THAT THIS WAS AN
INVESTMENT FUND FOR MEXICO?
You know it sounds, to my ears, it sounds quite strange. Somebody says okay, I
got money from this guy and this guy and this guy for investments. Normally you
have papers, that show what you are doing. Normally you make contracts, you
have paperwork, you have receipts, you say the money is coming in, the money is
And he promised me that he would provide a lot of things, and documents that
show that this is legal money, that show the source of this legal money. Until
now we have not gotten anything from his side. So what would you think, if
somebody told you okay you will get it, and you did not get it? So . . .
SO YOU NEVER GOT THE DOCUMENTS. WHAT ABOUT TALKING TO ALL HIS INVESTORS, HIS
FRIENDS, THE PARANTHAS AND THE SLIMS? DID THEIR TESTIMONY HELP CONVINCE YOU
THAT THERE WAS NO INVESTMENT FUND?
You know, until the time when I have originals, documents, that show me clearly
it's civil transactions, financial transactions, business, and I can say they
are not faked, they are really originals from the very beginning - then I have
to wonder what really happened? I have to start thinking are my witnesses
crooks too? Did they give false testimonies? Or, do I have to search for other
money, maybe I've got the wrong money here in Switzerland, I've got only the
business part, the real legal business part. Anything's possible. So . . . I'm
a cop and you have to show me, to get just a little bit more stuff, you know,
not only promises.
WHAT IS THE MOST PLAUSIBLE FIGURE FOR THE AMOUNT OF MONEY RAUL HAS ?
Plausible. You know, I can't tell you how much money he really earned or he
got, I can tell you about the exact amount that we've got in Switzerland. This
is not 84 million, it's a little bit more than $100, US. $100 million US.
YOU SAY YOU NEVER GOT THE DOCUMENTS THAT RAUL PROMISED YOU. WELL THEN HOW DID
HE MANAGE TO BAMBOOZLE THE BANK, I MEAN, THE BANKS THAT WE TALKED TO, PICTET
FOR ONE, SAYS THEY SHOWED GOOD REFERENCES. THEY HAD A GOOD REFERENCE IN
SWITZERLAND, RAUL SEEMED TO BE VERY, VERY ABOVEBOARD, SO HE MUST HAVE HAD SOME
DOCUMENTS. WHY DOES THAT NOT CONCUR HERE?
But you see, when the accounts were opened in Switzerland, there was a time
nobody, or almost nobody was talking about the probable involvement of Raul
Salinas in drug trafficking or in any other kind of wrongdoing. Everybody in
Switzerland in Swiss banks knew he was the brother of a former president when
he opened an account under his real name. And so there was no . . . why should
they think. . . he was the brother of the president, a man of a very rich
family, a wealthy family.
So it was nothing unusual for such a bank to open an account in Switzerland,
and even if somebody in the bank would have thought that it could be tax
evasion or something . . . that's not an illegal transaction. So the bank is
not obliged under Swiss law as it is right now, to announce to the law
enforcement agencies if somebody comes and opens an account even, if he brings
a lot of money.
SO ONLY SOME SWISS BANKS DO NOT ALLOW POLITICIANS OR POLITICAL FAMILY MEMBERS,
AND OTHERS DO.
IS THAT STILL TRUE?
Well now we've tried to change our law to make it easier, and to oblige the
bank to announce if somebody comes and brings a certain amount of money so we
can check if it's dirty money or not, but until now Banks had the right -- it
was legal-- to make those announcements or not, they didn't have to.
YOU DO HAVE STRONG SUSPICIONS ABOUT RAUL?
AND WHAT ARE YOUR SUSPICIONS?
I can't tell you the details right now, because I don't want . . . I'm not
allowed to tell you about the statements the witnesses made, but we have strong
suspicions and we have quite good evidence that he gave protection and he took
money for this protection. But for. . .
. . . for drug trafficking, you know that. . . the drug loads came from A to B
to C without problems.
AND THEREFORE YOU ARE ALMOST SURE THAT THE FORTUNE THAT HE HAD HIDDEN IN
SWITZERLAND IS FROM DRUG MONEY?
Yeah. In the very beginning we thought it was, but in the beginning we had
probable cause, and now we have . . . the evidence is getting stronger and
stronger and stronger. That's why we feel quite comfortable now, but the
investigation is still going on, it's not yet finished.
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO RAUL SALINAS?
Who knows? I don't know. You know there are many charges against him even in
Mexico. So he's. . . right now he's behind bars because of this suspicion in
the Ruiz Massieu murder case, and for illicit enrichment, and I don't know if
the Mexican authorities have some other investigations going on against him,
under some other titles, corruption. I really don't know.
WILL RAUL EVER BE CONVICTED OF ANYTHING?
I don't know. You know, the problem is that all of those who were responsible
changed. I think eleven or twelve of the high ranking prosecutors changed, and
former Attorney General Mr. Lozano went, left the office, and now they have a
new Attorney General. I have never met him before, and all the other
prosecutors, I don't . . . I really do not know what they had in their files.
Maybe they have strong cases, in the Mexican newspapers you can read every day
whatever you want, you know, there they are saying this and this and this and
this, and I do not listen to the Mexican newspapers because its messages are
too different. And so I do not know and I do not care about the other cases
the Mexican authorities have. I have my investigation and I will bring this
investigation to a successful end. That's the only thing I really care about.