On Tuesday, the head of Mexico’s powerful 1.3 million member teachers’ union was arrested on suspicion of embezzling $200 million in union funds.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo says that Elba Esther Gordillo, 68, who has controlled the teachers’ union for more than 20 years, allegedly shuttled union funds between bank accounts in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the U.S. to buy expensive works of art, plastic surgery, San Diego property, and $3 million worth of luxury goods at Neiman Marcus. From 2009 to 2012, however, she declared an income of just $86,000.
“Clearly, we’re facing a case in which the money of education workers has been misused illegally for the benefit of various people, including Elba Esther Gordillo,” said Murillo. “Under this government nobody is above the law.”
According to Reuters, Gordillo “has long been viewed as an impediment to education reform in Mexico.”