The invited guest's uncle, Jorge Hank Rhon, proprietor of Tijuana's Caliente track and the city's erstwhile mayor. (Photo from May, 1990 Reader story, courtesy of Zeta.)
He's said to be a friend of Mexico's president and one of the richest men in the country. He's the nephew of an ex-Tijuana mayor accused by many of being responsible for the killing of a journalist and having ties to the drug world.
Carlos Hank Gonzalez, said to be headed for a June 8 White House dinner commemorating the visit of current Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is the 48-year-old son of Carlos Hank Rhon, a key figure in the 1996 money laundering caseof Raul Salinas de Gortari, brother of Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The latter was Mexico's president from 1988 to 1994.
Carlos Hank Gonzalez, friend of Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is headed for a June 8 White House dinner.
In June 2001, Carlos Hank Rhon agreed to pay a $40 million fine to the Federal Reserve for concealing his acquisition of a controlling stake in Laredo National Bancshares through an offshore holding company, per the New York Times.
Though he agreed to resign as chairman of Laredo, he was allowed to keep his family's sizable interest in the U.S. financial institution.
But Carlos Hank Gonzalez, tomorrow's White House guest, has more than just a famous father.
His uncle is none other than Jorge Hank Rhon, proprietor of Tijuana's Caliente track and the city's erstwhile mayor, as well as a longtime target of U.S. drug, crime, and money laundering investigations.
In August 1989, Victoriano Medina Moreno, an ex-Caliente security guard, was convicted of the murder of journalist Hector Felix Miranda, widely known as 'El Gato" – and a fierce critic of Jorge Hank.
Two other employees of the Baja billionaire were also fingered in the slaying, responsibility for which Jorge Hank has long denied.
The leaked findings of a massive federal investigation of the Hank family – known as Operation White Tiger after Jorge Hank’s 1991 attempt to smuggle a white tiger into Mexico from the Coronado Cays in United States through the Tijuana border crossing – were ultimately disavowed by Janet Reno, President Bill Clinton's attorney general.
"After the report was leaked, the family began a counter-attack," writes investigative reporter Lowell Bergman on the PBS program Frontline's website.
'They hired high profile lawyers such as former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman and began lobbying the U.S. government to disavow the document. Attorney General Janet Reno eventually wrote the family a letter saying the report had been improperly leaked and that she could not endorse its conclusions because it had not been properly vetted.