THE AMERICAS

Mexico’s “Lord Rolls Royce” sought over possible involvement in murder

Well-connected businessman Emir Garduño seems to have enjoyed protection until now

El Rolls Royce donde viajaba Emir Garduño.
El Rolls Royce donde viajaba Emir Garduño. YOUTUBE

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Emir Garduño, the Mexican mogul and brother of politician Jair Garduño, rides around impoverished towns in a Rolls Royce with no license plates, flanked by an entourage of bodyguards in black cars and on motorcycles. In early May, when an off-duty police officer, Jorge Vera, overtook him, Garduño leapt out of his luxury car and ordered his bodyguards to beat him up on the spot. A video that has gone viral in Mexico shows Vera’s inconsolable daughter repeatedly telling her injured father to get back into his car. Social media users baptised Garduño #LordRollsRoyce even before they were aware of his feudal privileges.

Garduño was already under suspicion for his possible involvement in a homicide that took place in a hotel in the central city of Toluca in January. The Attorney General’s Office in his home state, Mexico, said he arrived at the restaurant with friends for a party, one of whom shot and killed the DJ.

His garage is stocked with luxury cars. Aside from the Rolls Royce, police found two Porches, two Ferraris, a Mini Cooper, a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz

The businessman is also being investigated for gun possession. Images from a nearby restaurant show him pointing a gun at someone while a group of people hold him back. In another image dating from November 2015 Garduño seems to be shooting at the ceiling.

In 2014, a group of businessmen reported Garduño for issuing death threats against them. Authorities in his home state of Michoacán are also investigating an $800,000 fraud case involving two of his construction companies.

On Tuesday, police entered his home to look for information that might lead to his whereabouts or reveal ties to organized crime, a source has told EL PAÍS. His garage is stocked with luxury cars, none of which bear license plates: aside from the Rolls Royce, they found two Porches, two Ferraris, a Mini Cooper, a BMW and a Mercedes-Benz. As the officers left the home, they recognized the cars of the bodyguards who beat Jorge Vera parked outside.

After footage of the attack went public, Mayor Garduño claimed that the victim had attempted to kidnap his brother. But once his team found out that Vera was a police officer, they erased tweets and comments from his social media profiles. Jair Garduño has now distanced himself from the controversy.

The Vera case is not the first time Garduño has been involved in a violent incident. The Mexican authorities have so far not issued an arrest warrant for Garduño.

English version by Dyane Jean-François.

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