The administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)  announced on Thursday, Jan. 17, that the federal Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) has frozen the bank accounts of 37 businesses believed to be linked to huachicoleo (gasoline piracy).

A statement issued by the UIF, which is a subsidiary of the Treasury Secretariat, noted that 15 of the companies with frozen accounts were private-sector corporations that have been involved in five cases currently under investigation by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR).

The other 13 accounts belong to franchises of the state-run oil corporation Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in the northern state of Tamaulipas (specifically, in the cities of Reynosa, Matamoros, Vale Hermosa, Río Grande, San Fernando and Guerrero), all of which are alleged to have been selling gasoline in the last three years, despite the fact that none of them have records of Pemex gasoline purchases between the years 2016 and 2017.

None of these filling stations have permits to import gasoline, so the origins of the products they have been selling is unknown, the UIF statement said.

Meanwhile, the AMLO administration continues with its all-out front to halt the theft and illegal sale of gasoline, which the government said resulted in losses for Pemex amounting to over $3 billion in 2018 alone.

The efforts to curb the piracy have led to prolonged gasoline shortages in at least seven states.



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