Monday 25 February 2013

Executive killed in Acapulco was victim of scam and death threats

Jan Sarens
On the evening of Sunday, February 24, the Sarens family and the Sarens Group were formally informed by Mexican authorities that Jan Sarens, an executive with the family-owned Flemish company, had been shot and killed in Acapulco on Saturday, February 23, at 16:43 local time.

Now the heavy equipment company, which has operations in more than 50 countries and employs approximately 3,400 people, is implying that Mr. Sarens may have been killed as a result of a business dispute.

The murder occurred in the parking lot of a shopping mall in the touristy “Diamond Zone”. As La politica previously reported, Mr. Sarens had been shot several times next to his Mercedes convertible, with .45 caliber shell casings found at the scene.

In a communique sent to La politica, the company says that shortly after it became involved in operations in Mexico it fell victim to “scams by their then partner, the Mexican enterprise Gruas Ojeda”.

Sarens Group does not say when it began operations in Mexico. However, the company stated that the “conflict led to a long juridical struggle, which was finally arbitrated in favor of Sarens, but which agreement has still not been executed.”

Sarens says that it was nonetheless “able to recover a part of their material”, and that Jan Sarens then “extended the Mexican branch into a flourishing entity exploiting some 50 cranes and employing 200 staff”.

However, the company’s conflict with Gruas Ojeda was not over. Claiming that the ex-associate “didn’t keep to his refund obligations,” the company says that it was “forced once again to call in the help of the Mexican court.”

Then things began to heat up, with the company claiming that “Within this situation death threats have been made against Mr. Sarens and the director of the Mexican group association.”

The company claims that it had made the Mexican government aware of the problem, and pleaded its case “several times” with Foreign Affairs. It also says that it will continue to pressure Foreign Affairs via Belgian authorities to determine who killed Mr. Sarens, who leaves behind a wife and three children. 

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

For related Acapulco stories see:

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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