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A rented jet and payments: the FBI’s evidence against producer Ángel Del Villar | News Univision Drug Trafficking

Records of a private plane rental, concert videos, bank transfers, text messages and a recorded conversation are some of the evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says he has to accuse the famous music producer Angel Del Villar for an alleged collaboration with a Mexican businessman booked for laundering money from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

Del Villar, 41, was arrested Tuesday by FBI agents, later appeared in federal court in Los Angeles and was released on $100,000 bail. The government accuses him of break the kingpin law by conspiring to carry out transactions with a drug trafficker on the black list of the Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury.

Neither the businessman nor his label Del Records have spoken about it. This Wednesday, the company published on its Facebook page information about its artists, some of whom are nominated for a music award that will be presented soon. Del Records did not respond to messages sent by Univision Noticias requesting comment on this criminal case.

Del Villar’s arrest comes two years after his company offices and home were searched by federal agents. Del Records is known for produce songs about Mexican drug traffickers. In his wide menu of talents are Ulices Chaidez, T3R Element and Lenin Ramírez.

The FBI also arrested Tuesday Luca Scalissi, CFO of Del Records’ talent agency, called Del Entertainment. He was released on $35,000 bail.

Both Del Villar and Scalisi would have collaborated with Jesus Perez Alvear a promoter that controls diamond gallistics, also known as Ticket Premier, to perform concerts in Mexico.

They did it despite the fact that Pérez Alvear and his company have been on file with OFAC since 2018 for launder money from the CJNG and its financial arm Los Cuinis, according to the Department of Justice.

A singer interviewed by the FBI

FBI agent Lauren Radke notes in an affidavit that as of March 2019 Pérez Alvear was in charge of the promotion and organization of concerts in Mexico where artists and musicians associated or under contract with Del Entertainment participated.

One of those singers, identified in the indictment as ‘Individual A’, was interviewed by Agent Radke and other police officers at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 19, 2018, while returning from Mexico. Radke describes that he showed the artist an OFAC document and warned him that the law prohibited him from doing business directly or indirectly with the owner of Gallística Diamante.

But that artist kept traveling to Mexico to sing at Pérez Alvear concerts.

Through a federal registry, the FBI found a press release prepared by Del Records on behalf of the singer identified as ‘Individual A’, stating that due to the OFAC designation he would stop singing at Pérez Alvear’s shows. This action also pointed to the popular singer Julian Alvarez, who until a few days ago was removed from the Treasury Department’s blacklist.

The statement prepared by Del Records stated that this artist “had no choice then but to obey the law of the United States and not allow reservations of any of my shows to people who the Department of the Treasury has considered sanctioned”.

This statement from Ángel Del Villar’s company was never made public, according to the FBI.

The concert in Aguascalientes

Other evidence collected by the FBI is audio found on the cell phone of a Del Records employee. In that voice message, which was recorded on April 19, 2018, Scalisi says that Del Villar wanted him to travel to Mexico to meet with Pérez Alvear and another person “to collect money that Pérez owed to a Mexican entity affiliated with Del Entertainment and Del Villar”.

Scalisi also noted that he was concerned about “creating a paper trail” between Gallística Diamante and the Californian record company, since Pérez Alvear was “under surveillance by (the Department of) National Security.” The executive indicated that he preferred that Del Villar “hide the company of ‘Chucho’ (the alias of the CJNG operator) until, you know, this mess with the government and due process is resolved.”

On April 24 of that year, Del Villar’s sister and Del Entertainment’s director of tour operations ordered a company publicist to ask Del Villar for information about the singer’s upcoming concert ‘Individual A’ in Aguascalientes. , Mexico, promoted by Pérez Alvear.

Later, the FBI interviewed that publicist, who revealed that between April 24 and 27, 2018, Del Villar and his employees continued to talk about the Aguascalientes concert.

That singer did offer a presentation in that state, but he did so until the early hours of April 28, as there was a delay in his flight, according to federal prosecutors.

“A video I have seen that is publicly available from multiple sources confirms that ‘Individual A’ performed during the 2018 Aguascalientes concert,” Agent Radke said in her statement.

During the investigation, the FBI also interviewed in April 2019 the co-founder of the private jet rental company GOGO JETS, which Del Records hired to take the artist from the airport in Van Nuys, California, to one in Aguascalientes, on April 27, 2018.

The label called the same day to rent a small jet, but there were only large ones. They paid with an American Express credit card in the name of Ángel Del Villar and sent in advance photos of the passports of four passengers, including the singer, describes the accusation.

The GOGOJETS co-founder told the FBI that he did an internet search for his clients and verified that one of the passengers was a “prominent Del Records musician.”

The flight’s takeoff was delayed because the Aguascalientes airport would be closed by the time they planned to land. But a Del Records employee told the GOGO JETS co-founder “That they knew someone in the government and that there would be no problem.” Shortly after that contact would have helped them: they confirmed that the Mexican airport would continue to operate when they arrived.

$175,000 shipments from Mexico

Two months after renting the jet, Del Villar claimed that he was overcharged. The record of that dispute ended up being part of the evidence the FBI collected.

On June 14, 2018, in an exchange of text messages, a Del Records employee asked Del Villar for money to cover the remaining amount for the plane rental and claimed that the music promoter “specifically said that ‘Chucho’ ( Pérez Alvear) was going to pay for the flight.”

But Del Villar told his employee that “it was not a bank” and would not send him the refund. He asked her to “fix that problem”, because he was “the one who chose the plane”. The worker’s response was that he had recommended “not to act for a person sanctioned by the United States.”

The FBI also assures that it has a recorded conversation between Scalisi and a Del Records employee, who apparently cooperated with the government, in which it is mentioned that Del Villar reported that Pérez Alvear “already sent three deposits” to the bank.

Then Scalisi asked him if the money had reached the account in a Mexican bank registered under the name of ‘Del Melodía Entertainment’ and asked him to indicate “which shows” he was paying for.

Scalisi also warned the employee that said deposits should not be registered “under the name of ‘Chucho’”, but “under the name of the promoter”.

Investigators managed to trace at least 11 bank deposits of between 150,000 and 750,000 pesos (between $7,500 and $37,500) from August 16, 2018 to January 29, 2019. They were made by two people acting on behalf of Pérez Alvear. According to the Justice Department, Del Records received a total of 3.5 million pesos ($175,000) in that period.

Meanwhile, the singer identified as “Individual A” performed concerts organized by the two people who made the bank deposits on behalf of Gallística Diamante. The events were in Mexicali, Salamanca, Chiapas and San José de Iturbide between September 28, 2018 and February 2019.

Del Villar and Scalisi’s arraignment is scheduled for July 20 in federal court in Los Angeles. Interestingly, above that court is the DEA office, from which operations are coordinated to capture the head of the CJNG, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias ‘El Mencho’.

The Prosecutor’s Office warns that if they are found guilty, both would face a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

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