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Mexican world-cup football star Rafa Marquez is off the US watch list


The US Treasury Department on 22/09/2021  removed its sanctions on Mexican soccer star Rafa Marquez and his companies and foundations.

Marquez was sanctioned in August 2017 over what the Treasury then called:

  • His "longstanding" relationship with Mexican national Raul Flores Hernandez,
  • Saying he'd acted as a front person for Flores's drug trafficking organization (DTO) and held assets on his behalf.

Mauricio Heredia Horner and Marco Antonio Fregoso Gonzalez, who were sanctioned for acting on Marquez's behalf, were also delisted.

In the wake of the sanctions, Mexican authorities froze some of Marquez's accounts. By January 2018, however, the Mexican attorney general closed its investigation and unfroze the accounts, according to a Mexican media report. Companies and foundations associated with Marquez were also delisted Wednesday, including:

  • Servicios Educativos y de Negocios, S. de R.L. de C.V., a company Marquez co-owned with, among others, Mexican politician Carlos Lomeli Bolanos,

The designation was part of what the Treasury said at the time was the largest sanctions action against a Mexican drug cartel network. Marquez categorically denied the allegations at the time.

At the 2018 World Cup, when Marquez was captain of the Mexican national team, he agreed to not get paid, was not allowed to wear the same practice uniform as his teammates and could not drink from the same branded water bottles as they did (the New York Times reported at the time)

Sponsors of the tournament boycotted Marquez out of fear of a sanctions violation.