By RICARDO CASTILLO
The Lomas de Chapultepec mansion that once belonged to Chinese-born imprisoned Mexican citizen Zhenli Ye Gon will be auctioned on Sunday, Aug.11, as programmed, said Ricardo Rodríguez Vargas, president of the Institute to Return to the People What Was Stolen From Them, officially known as Administration and Properties Alienation (SAE).
Rodriguez Vargas made the announcement early Wednesday, Aug. 7, during Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obradores (AMLO) daily press conference, adding that the suit filed recently by Ye Gon’s lawyers is “inadmissible” in a court of law and that thus far no judge has taken up the suit or issued a protecting writ of habeas corpus, known in Spanish as an amparo,
The mansion, valued to start the auction at 95 million peso (about $5 million), was part of a much larger seizure of properties from Ye Gon in 2007, when $207 million in cash was found in the house. At the time, Rodríguez said, “nobody filed suits to recover the money. The value of the mansion is a lot less than the amount of dollars confiscated back then.”
The property was administered by the former Attorney General’s Office until 2012, when it was transferred to SAE.
“In all these years there was not a single amparo presented against the confiscation of the house. It was not until last July, just when it was announced the house was going to auctioned, that this request for an amparo was presented,” Rodriguez explained.
The auction will be held at the Los Pinos Cultural Center at noon on Sunday, Aug. 11.
López Obrador explained that the property is worth in real estate value a lot more but that the administration was interested in creating a trust fund to award scholarships to athletes who win medals in the still on-going Peru Pan American Games.
He said he expects an offer of at least 150 million pesos and that the auction is perfectly legal under the Law of Extinction Domain. The money will go to scholarships worth 40,000 pesos a month for gold winners, 35,000 to silver medalists and 25,000 to bronze winning athletes.