Photo: Gaston Azcarraga Andrade
Gaston Azcarraga Andrade, the fugitive former president and owner of Mexicana de Aviacion airline, which was declared bankrupt in April, asked for asylum in the United States after his visa expired, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office reported Wednesday.
“We learned through U.S. authorities that his tourist visa was expired. As a result, I understand that what (Azcarraga) requested ... was asylum,” said Mariana Benitez, the assistant prosecutor for international matters in the AG’s Office.
At a press conference, Benitez said that according to information provided by U.S. authorities, the businessman’s case is in the hands of an immigration judge, who will determine “whether or not to proceed with that (asylum) request.”
The local newspaper Milenio reported on Wednesday that Azcarrage had been arrested in the United States on April 18 because his visa had expired, going on to say that he was placed under house arrest in New York and required to wear a locator bracelet.
However, Benitez said that according to her office’s information, Azcarraga is not under arrest. “I don’t know the truth about whether he has a bracelet, but I suppose that they will have the necessary measures to guarantee that the gentleman does not leave the country,” she said.
Benitez said that Mexico had sent to the U.S. Justice Department a request to detain Azcarraga with an eye toward his extradition, although that cannot proceed for the moment until the asylum request issue is resolved.
She said that it could be “several months” before the extradition might actually come about.
On Feb. 20, Mexico’s attorney general, Jesus Murillo, reported that his office had requested the intervention of Interpol in carrying out an arrest order issued by a judge for Azcarraga.
The former Mexicana de Aviacion chief is facing assorted legal and administrative actions linked to his alleged fraudulent administration of the airline.
In 2005, Azcarraga and other investors acquired the airline for $165 million, although in 2010 the company was sold to the Tenedora K consortium for a symbolic amount. The great financial difficulties experienced by the firm forced it to suspend operations in 2010.
Last April 4, a Mexican court declared the airline to be “bankrupt.”