Mexico’s attorney general, Alejandro Gertz, demanded paintings, silver pieces, Persian rugs and other valuable objects, which he considered to belong to him, from his in-laws. The latter, who wanted to get Alejandra Cuevas out of jail, considered these returns as part of a negotiation. As EL PAÍS has reported since Monday, Alejandra Cuevas is the daughter of Laura Morán, who for more than 40 years was the partner of Federico Gertz, the prosecutor’s brother. Cuevas has been in prison since October 2020 for the murder of Federico Gertz. Alejandro Gertz himself denounced the women upon the death of his brother, in 2015. According to his version, the women stopped caring for their sick brother, thus causing his death.
The prosecutor’s request occurred last October, days before Cuevas’ arrest in Mexico City, according to the woman’s children. For Gertz, this request actually responded to a return. Federico Gertz had guarded these objects while he was alive and his brother claimed them because he considers that they are part of the family patrimony. In a call at the end of November between the prosecutor and one of Cuevas’ daughters, who the second secretly recorded from the first, Gertz refers to the objects: “That we had to recover what they were taking from my brother’s offices “… Among the works he claimed were pieces by Diego Rivera and Francisco Toledo and other objects whose value amounted to about 20 million pesos.
In an interview with EL PAÍS, the prosecutor denied any type of negotiation with his in-laws in the case of Alejandra Cuevas: “I have never made a negotiation to get that woman out of jail. With that clarity and that forcefulness ”. Regarding the request for the works of art to Morán, the prosecutor has said: “I am not before a prosecutor or a public prosecutor. The affairs of prosecutors and public ministries are reduced in front of these authorities ”.
Always according to Cuevas’ children, the prosecutor transmitted the request for the works of art and other objects through a network of intermediaries, made up of the lawyer Fernando Díaz and the governor of the State of Mexico, Alfredo Del Mazo. This request was added to the check for three and a half million pesos and the resignation of Laura Morán’s pension. Brother-in-law, Díaz and Del Mazo are close to Gertz’s in-laws.
According to Ana Paula Castillo and her brother Gonzalo, Cuevas’ children, Gertz gave them a list through intermediaries, an “appraisal,” as they call it. The appraisal, of which EL PAÍS has a copy, consists of dozens of objects, among them originals by Diego Rivera and Francisco Toledo, centennial clocks, Persian rugs, tea sets and silver sauce boats … The total value of the objects is close to the twenty million pesos.
The appraisal was prepared in 1984 and consists of three items, “paintings, .925 sterling silver items and objects.” The latter includes “porcelain, glassware, rugs and watches” among other items. The largest item is silver items, with more than 50 pieces. The total value of the silver required by Gertz amounts to 10,023,000 pesos. After silver comes the item of porcelain, glassware and others, for 6,250,000 pesos. At the end the paintings appear, for 2,800,000 pesos.
A Louis XV style clock
Cuevas and his children received the appraisal on October 12, 2020, according to their version. The Castillo brothers say that Fernando Díaz gave them to them at night, in the lawyer’s apartment in Mexico City. This one would have been given by Del Mazo, who received it from Gertz. Cuevas herself went to the meeting. By then, the judge had already ordered his arrest, but the family was unaware. The resignation of their lawyer in September had blinded them to justice.
That same night, Díaz also gave them a copy of the checks that Laura Morán had written to her daughter in 2015, when she learned that Alejandro Gertz, who was then the rector of the University of the Americas, had denounced them. Díaz told them that the prosecutor wanted the money back. After all, Federico Gertz’s will recognized his brother as the sole heir. EL PAÍS has a copy of the testamentary document created before the notary public upon the death of Federico Gertz, which proves it. The intermediary also told them that Gertz wanted Laura Morán to renounce the pension that her partner had left her, 83,000 pesos a month.
In the following days, Cuevas and his children began to collect the valuation items. Ana Paula Castillo says that most of the objects were in the house of her grandmother, Laura Morán, who after the death of Federico Gertz had moved to a smaller house, in Lomas de Tecamachalco, in Mexico City. Others were at Cuevas’ house, also in the capital. The first thing they packed were the paintings. There were 11 on the list, although there were two, Castillo says, they did not find. One was a “crayon drawing of Francisco Toledo representing a rooster.” Of those that were delivered, the most valuable were an oil painting by Jesús Guerrero Galván, which in 1984 cost 540,000 pesos, and another by José Chávez Morado, of the same price. Among those delivered there was also an “original pencil drawing by Diego Rivera representing two children playing”, for a value of 350,000 pesos.
In the process of searching and packing the objects, the Mexico City prosecutor’s office detained Cuevas. It was Friday, October 16. The Castillo brothers contacted Fernando Díaz and his wife, Regina Castillo, their cousin. The couple suggested that the arrest was due to the lack of haste to deliver what was demanded. In an interview with EL PAÍS, Gertz has denied that there was any type of negotiation and has indicated that this episode responds to repairing the damage suffered by him as a victim: “Repairing the damage in criminal matters is not a negotiation, it is an obligation of the offender and a right of the victim ”. Despite the statements of the prosecutor, no judge has yet determined any compensation for the damage in this case.
Over the weekend, the brothers finished locating and packing the items. Some were at their mother’s house, others at their grandmother’s house. Among the silver pieces required, the brothers put together “a baroque centerpiece”, which according to the appraisal costs 532,000 pesos, “a tureen with floral motifs”, for 547,000, or “a duck-shaped sauce boat”, for 174,000 pesos. . In total, the amount of silver objects that they delivered amounted to more than five million pesos.
At the same time, the brothers located part of the “porcelain, glassware, rugs and watches” that the prosecutor had requested. Among the objects delivered, there is an “imperial kirman Persian rug with a large central medallion”, whose value amounts to 800,000 pesos, an “old Goa carving from the 18th century representing the child God”, for 300,000 or a “clock in red boulle with bracket to adapt to the wall, XIX century, Louis XV style ”, for 1,250,000 pesos.
With everything packed, the Castillo brothers say that a Diaz driver went to their grandmother’s house on two occasions, between October 20 and 23. After the episode of the works of art, the brothers and Díaz would discuss the letter of resignation from the grandmother’s pension and the check for 3.5 million pesos that Gertz was asking for.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.