OPINION

Photo: Courtney Bierman

By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS

It isn’t hard to find dirt on Mexico’s Maccise family, a devious mafia of media power and political imposition based out of Toluca, in the State of Mexico (EdoMéx), that has used its money and political clout to influence elections, silence reporters and bulldoze legislation for its own agenda for more than three decades.

The family’s multimedia Grupo Mac (also known as Grupo Capital or Capital Media, depending on which government authority the group is trying to avoid at the moment) has it offices in a carefully guarded, four-floor building located at Montes Urales 425 in Mexico City’s upscale Lomas de Chapultepec, which still serves as the hub for the family’s stilted and unvetted deluge of political propaganda through tabloid-style newspapers and unscrupulous media broadcasts.

And it was that very same building that was used as the “headquarters” for now-disgraced former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during his campaign (and later, during his term, as the “official base” for some of his key cabinet members).

Thanks to the Maccises, the building itself has become of political controversy and alleged crimes, including a dubious connection between the “mysterious” crash of a military helicopter (which just happened to have taken off from the roof of that building just minutes before) with then-Interior Secretary Francisco Blake inside.

There has always been fodder for incrimination when it comes to the Maccise clan.

The elusive Lebanese-Mexican family, headed by patriarch Anuar Maccise Dib, has been imposing its political will and growing its multi-billon-dollar fortune for more than three decades, financially greasing its way with each successive administration to continue to operate under its own rules and pseudo legality.

Maccise Dib and his brood of offspring — Anuar, Jr., Luis, Alex and Ana Rosa Maccise Uribe — were clearly involved in the 2021 outsourcing scandal headed by Raúl Beyruti Sánchez (now on the lam from Mexican federal police on at least eight counts of alleged fiscal fraud and money laundering).

The Maccises were directly linked to falsified payrolls and tax shams against more than 200 full-time Grupo Mac reporters, editors and photographers.

But somehow the Maccise Teflon shield (and perhaps a generous donation to the corresponding authorities) has managed to keep the family out of the crosshairs of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who in October 2020 officially declared war on outsourcing, calling it “a malicious scheme aimed at skirting tax laws and avoiding paying employees their rightful benefits.”

The Maccises were also singled out by currently-incarcerated former Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) Director Emilio Lozoya Austin in July of last year for their purported role in the embezzlement of more than $600 million from the Mexican Treasury.

According to documents released by the AMLO government at that time, reinforcing Lozoya Austin’s claims, the Grupo Mac building in Montes Urales was the “nerve center” for Peña Nieto’s political payola and bribe payouts.

In one of the legal appeals filed by Lozoya Austin to try to get released on bail, he stated bluntly that “a large part of the resources that were given to a group of legislators were kept in an (executive) bathroom precisely located in Montes Urales 425 in Lomas de Chapultepec.”

Not coincidentally, when Maccise Dib’s second-eldest son, Luis Maccise Uribe, married Laura Barrera Fortoul in June 2014, his best man was none other than his “childhood friend” Peña Nieto himself, who spent more than 12 hours at the lavish sit-down wedding luncheon/dinner, toasting the newlyweds. Best man, indeed!

Montes Urales 425 is also the address that Peña Nieto’s Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray and his Public Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño provided to the federal government as their “industrial offices” when questioned by authorities on their involvement in the alleged embezzling scam.

“Appointments for the delivery of cash were coordinated through text messages between various telephone numbers of disposable devices,” Lozoya Austin said in the report.

“For such purposes, a suitcase with wheels was delivered to Montes Urales 425 to transport the cash deliveries.”

For serving as a front for Peña Nieto’s under-the-table financial dealings, the Maccise family was well compensated.

Between 2013 to 2016, Grupo Mac and its subsidiaries were awarded at least 156 advertising contracts for a total of 169.3 million pesos.

Later, the family was given a contract to produce text books for Mexico’s National Council for Educational Development (Conafe), an institution that, later, after Peña Nieto left office, sued the Maccises for failing to deliver those books.

The incriminating evidence against the Maccise clan continues to mount.

Meanwhile, they and their “legal offices” continue to be located at the Monte Urales address.

López Obrador has, since taking office in December 2018, promised to investigate and eradicate all corruption in the country.

These are the facts.

The Montes Urales address is well known to government authorities and to the countless journalists and other employees defrauded by the Maccise family.

So when, if ever, can the Mexican people expect AMLO to take action?

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