Sedena Head Buys Luxury Apartment from Military Supplier

Secretary of National Defense Luis Cresencio Sandoval, left, with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Google


An investigation by civil society group Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) has revealed that Luis Cresencio Sandoval, head of Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), allegedly bought a 407-square-meter luxury apartment in the exclusive area of ​​Bosque Real, in the Huixquilucan municipality of the State of Mexico (EdoMéx).

The luxury apartment, which is located in the Cuatro Puntos de Bosque Real complex, purportedly boasts of three bedrooms, a four-point panoramic view, a terrace overlooking the golf course, a direct elevator to the floor and an office and a game room. The building itself has a shared indoor pool, gym and gardens for residents.

According to the MCCI investigation published on Monday, May 15, by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, the seller of the apartment is a partner of a Sedena supplier company, which obtained a contract from the government department two years after Sandoval bought the property.

The Sedena reported to the Public Function Secretariat (SFP) that the acquisition value of the apartment was at 9 million pesos, but MCCI confirmed that properties of similar dimensions and characteristics in the same subdivision are sold for up to 30 million pesos, triple the value reported by Sandoval.

In Sandoval’s May 2022 asset statement, he reportedly asked the SFP not to provide information about his real estate purchase.

However, MCCI obtained a copy of the complete statement, with no assets omitted, which Sandoval delivered to the SFP. There it is stated that on Feb. 17, 2020, Alejandra Aguilar Solórzano sold Sandoval the property. Aguilar Solórzano — along with her sister Elsa — is a shareholder of the company Protective Materials Technology (Promatech), a current supplier of the Sedena. Aguilar Solórzano and her sister each have a 50 percent stake in the company.

Incidentally, both are daughters of Alfredo Aguilar Amezcua, a retired military man who is the company’s legal representative.

A decade ago, Aguilar Amezcua was security commissioner for the Coalition of Associations of the Esmeralda Zone.

In 2001, another of his companies, Macoisa, was a supplier of bulletproof vests for the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection (SSP) in Mexico City — when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) was governor — and was also a supplier of armor for patrol cars of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) under Alejandro Gertz Manero, current head of Mexico’s Attorney General of the Republic (FGR).

In February 2022, Macoisa obtained a contract from Sedena for 319 million pesos to supply the government agency with 48,000 sets of ballistic plates.

In his asset statement, Sandoval reported that the value of his property in Bosque Real was 9 million pesos, and that he bought it with a mortgage loan granted in February 2020 by the National Army Bank. As of May 2022, Sandoval had a remaining balance of 3.8 million pesos on the property.

The MCCI said it requested a statement from Sandoval on Sunday, May 14, but got no response.

On Monday, the Plural Group, Citizen’s Movement Party (MC) and the National Action Party (PAN) benches — members of the opposition bloc in the Mexican Senate — demanded that López Obrador not brush off the latest accusations against Sandoval.

“I ask the president not to try to minimize, brush off or hide this purchase. On the contrary, the president should be the first to ask that this be clarified,” said Senator Emilio Álvarez Icaza of the Plural Group. “If he continues brushing this issue off and acting like this is not a big deal, then the hypothesis that he is covering up corruption must be true. At the very least, in this case there is a clear conflict of interest.”

Álvarez Icaza also urged Sandoval to explain why he bought an apartment from a government supplier.

“He is obliged to explain the purchase, and why at that price of 9 million pesos, and why from a government supplier. If this purchase is true, then López Obrador’s statement that there is no corruption in the Mexican Army is a lie,” said Álvarez Icaza. “The cancer of corruption that López Obrador introduced into the Mexican Army to give it privileged treatment in budget matters will have very serious consequences for the country.”

For his part, Senator Juan Zepeda of the MC agreed with Álvarez Icaza that the president must demand the secretary of defense to explain his purchase of a luxury apartment.

“It is ironic that a government that has called itself the transformation of the left is the one that came to empower the Mexican Army, like no one else in history. And the fact that this purchase has come to light is evidence of just how empowered the armed forces are under the president,” said Zepeda, who is also the head of the Anti-Corruption Commission in the Senate. “I would say to the president that he, as supreme commander of the armed forces, should ask Sandoval to account for himself.”

Kenia López Rabadán, vice coordinator of the PAN bench, likewise demanded an explanation from Sandoval.

“The secretary of defense has a great responsibility before Mexicans. And for the good of the secretariat that he heads, he must give a convincing explanation to the public, so that there can be no doubt,” she said.

Likewise, opposition legislators from the Chamber of Deputies — Jorge Triana, the vice coordinator of the PAN; Sergio Barrera, deputy from the MC; and Xavier González Zirión, deputy from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) — on the afternoon of Monday demanded the immediate resignation of Sandoval.

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