This post was updated on Oct. 4 with information from Televisa. See below.
Documents found by police in Nicaragua contain the name of a top executive with Mexico’s media giant Televisa in a recent money laundering scandal involving the two countries, according to the radio network Noticias MVS.
Nicaragua’s National Police found a folder with documents showing the TV company’s logo and making reference to a person with the last names “Narcia Estrada,” the Mexican daily El Universal reported. According to a Televisa website, the name of the company's vicepresident of news is Amador Narcia Estrada, who rejected having participated in the money laundering scheme through his Twitter account.
In August, 18 Mexican citizens who identified themselves as journalists were detained transporting $9 million hidden inside six vehicles marked with Televisa’s logo. Nicaraguan authorities said the suspects were also wearing Televisa uniforms and carrying identification cards allegedly issued by the company, according to news weekly Proceso.
Mexican news media have also said the vehicles are registered under Televisa’s name.
Noticias MVS reported Nicaraguan authorities learned about the scheme from an anonymous call that told them about a plan from a group of Mexican citizens who wanted to damage the reputation of Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega. However, the country’s police ended up discovering the laundered money.
Update: In relation to this post, Director of Communications Regina Moctezuma for Grupo Televisa contacted the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to assure that "there is no link between those arrested and Televisa, rather the company has been the victim of a series of crimes by those who appear to be part of a criminal network."
Moctezuma highlighted the following points in respect to the investigation:
1-Since the moment facts came to light at the customs check "Las Manos," Nicaragua, Televisa has collaborated with Mexican authorities.
2-In a investigative report broadcasted by its news program on Sept. 20, Televisa noted that:
-The six trucks confiscated by Nicaraguan authorities were bought in cash by Raquel Alatorre Correa.
-The trucks were previously, in an illegal manner and with the help of workers at the Federal District Secretary of Transport and Roads, registered improperly under Televisa's name using an expired permit from 2005. The workers are currently under investigation.
3-Televisa has presented these allegations to the Mexican and Nicaraguan authorities for the possible prosecution of crimes, but not limited to, the falsification of documents, the misuse of trade names and/or logos and/or colors of Televisa's corporate image.
4-Televisa has reported through press releases, testified and presented evidence that:
-None of the vehicles were owned by or used by the company.
-None of the 18 detained in Nicaragua worked for the company or provided services in any form.
5-Raquel Alatorre Correa, who posed as the supervisor of the group detained, has also never worked for Televisa and has used several alias. As Televisa reported in its news broadcast on Wednesday, Oct. 3, her real name is Juana Raquel Alvarado Torres.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.