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Former Mexican President Testifies

July 8, 1999

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A former president of Mexico has testified about alleged money laundering before an Irish court in an airline fraud case, Mexican newspapers reported Thursday.

The former president, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, was called as a witness and questioned about drug money allegedly laundered by his brothers, Raul and Enrique, who have bank accounts and properties in France worth about $100 million, the daily El Universal reported.

The case, involving Mexico’s largest airline, Aeromexico, is being tried by French authorities. The Irish court was aiding the French trial.

Salinas also was questioned about alleged fraud against Aeromexico, newspapers quoted Salinas’ attorney, Mariano Albor, as saying. Albor did not say when the closed-door hearing took place. He could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

French authorities had sought Salinas’ testimony since 1997.

Salinas has been living in self-imposed exile in Ireland since shortly after abandoning Mexico in disgrace in March 1995, following his brother’s arrest on murder charges and the collapse of the Mexican economy.

Aeromexico’s former president of the board, Gerardo de Prevoisin, was arrested near Zurich, Switzerland, last August, on a Mexican warrant that charged him with fraud worth $60 million.

Swiss authorities last month approved his extradition to Mexico. He is appealing the decision.

In a separate U.S. court case, de Prevoisin acknowledged that he withdrew $8 million from the airline’s accounts, but said he donated it to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, with the approval of Aeromexico’s board of directors.

Mexico’s ruling party has denied it received funds from Aeromexico, but acknowledged receiving money from de Prevoisin.

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