An alleged leader of a Romanian mafia that allegedly operated a massive network for cloning cards in ATMs on the Mexican Caribbean coast and other tourist destinations, was detained on Thursday by agents of the Attorney General’s Office.

The prosecution confirmed that it is Florian Tudor, a Romanian citizen who is accused of the crimes of organized crime, extortion and attempted aggravated murder. As indicated by this department in a statement, the arrest warrant was carried out in compliance with an extradition request from the Romanian government.

A prosecutor tried to prevent the arrest and Tudor’s lawyer beat the police. The press release indicates that the two men were placed at the disposal of the Public Ministry but does not clarify whether the agent who tried to help the suspect was one of those mobilized for his capture or someone who was with Tudor.

The scandal surrounding this businessman, nicknamed “El Tiburon”, includes, in addition to the card cloning network, contacts with high-level Mexican officials.

In February, Santiago Nieto – head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), the department in charge of tracking suspicious money laundering operations – reported that “by agreement of the national security cabinet” they blocked “79 individuals and legal entities from a criminal group with people of Romanian and Mexican nationality who were dedicated to cloning credit and debit cards in tourist destinations”.

Weeks later, on March 3, Tudor was received by the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection, Rosa Icela Rodríguez, because he had requested a hearing when he considered himself innocent and the victim of political persecution.

“Our treatment was like any citizen, to listen to him, but we did not give any opinion on the matter,” said Rodríguez at the time after clarifying that this issue was in the hands of the prosecution but that there was no arrest warrant against him.

However, the FIU’s allegations against Tudor were forceful and involved suspicious movements of about $ 25 million.

According to the data provided by this department in February, the criminal network had already expanded from the Caribbean to other tourist destinations in the Pacific, such as Los Cabos, the Riviera Nayarita or Puerto Vallarta.

It operated by altering ATMs installed in tourist hotels to which devices were installed to clone the cards and, later, make withdrawals. Later, that money was entered into the financial system through front companies.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collaborated with the FIU in this case in which it was also found that there were public officials facilitating these illicit transactions.

Tudor said through his social networks that he was the victim of a plot orchestrated by the former chief of the Quintana Roo police, where Cancun and the Riviera Maya are, and the state governor himself, who had paid millions to the press to slander him.

The local press also recorded another incident in 2018 when another Romanian, allegedly a member of an anti-Tudor group, was found dead near the suspect’s home. The circumstances of that crime have not been clarified.

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