The government of Mexico announced last week that it will auction off suspected drug trafficker Zhenli Ye Gon’s Mexico City mansion on Aug. 11 starting at 95 million Mexican pesos (US$5 million), according to a news release released on Aug. 1.
The house sits on a 0.3-acre lot in the upper-crust neighborhood of Las Lomas Chapultepec in Mexico City. It opens up to a large marble foyer with a double staircase, photos show. The 16,748-square-foot house also features a pool and spa, an elevator, and a large upstairs party room.
The villa auction is part of a larger auction of 25 lots for a total of M234.2 million, the news release said, and comes months after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s “Robin Hood” car auction in May, according to Reuters, and jewelry auction in July, according to the Washington Post. This initiative auctioned confiscated luxury cars once owned by gang members to help fund social programs.
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The proceeds from Mr. Ye Gon’s house auction will go towards supporting youth scholarships in Mexico.
An email to the government agency official involved in the auction was not answered.
Mr. Ye Gon, 56, fled his home for the U.S when Mexican authorities seized cash in three currencies—US$206 million, €201,000 and M17 million—from the house in 2007. It has been widely reported that Mr. Ye Gon has since denied all charges including those of drug trafficking, conspiracy and illegal weapons possession, claiming that his business imported chemicals for legal prescription drug production. He was extradited to Mexico from the U.S. in 2016 and was held at Altiplano prison near Mexico City.
The auction will be online and via phone bids and will take place at the Los Pinos Cultural Complex as well as being live-streamed.
The fortune, reportedly found by the police on March 15, 2007 at his residence at Lomas de Chapultepec in Mexico City included the following:
207 million U.S. dollars
18 million Mexican pesos
113,000 Hong Kong dollars
11 centenarios (Mexican gold bullion coins made of 1.20565 oz t (37.5 g) of pure gold)
A great amount of jewels, of unknown value
Confiscated along with the money were also:
Two Mexican-style dwellings of approximately 20 million pesos
A war chest of automatic guns
1 lab in construction of unknown value
Nine persons were arrested, four of them of Asian origin.