Big Bola Casino Owners Face Money Laundering Allegations

  • Brothers brothers Óscar and Francisco Javier Rodríguez Borgio are the focus of the allegations
  • A judge denied an appeal of the sanctions against Big Bola bank accounts
  • It appears that Big Bola could already be back in their accounts
  • The brothers have a long and troubled legal history
Cash in a dryer
Big Bola Casinos’ owners are alleged to have participated in money laundering. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Big Bola back in trouble

Big Bola Casinos, a Mexican-based gaming company, is facing a string of allegations regarding participating in money laundering.

frozen 55 bank accounts connected to Big Bola

Authorities have already intervened and frozen 55 bank accounts connected to Big Bola as ordered by Mexico’s National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV). Big Bola’s owners and brothers Óscar and Francisco Javier Rodríguez Borgio have been under investigative watch since 2012 for different reasons, including money laundering, sale of stolen fuel at their gas stations, and the illegitimate sale of the Gallos de Querétaro soccer team.

The latest development could signal the change from investigation to prosecution, though nothing has gone before a judge yet.

Caught in a wake of a controversy

A judge denied a challenge of the sanctions from Big Bola affiliate Comercial de Juegos de la Frontera, but the company’s recent comments suggest they are no longer locked out of their accounts.

Big Bola has been under the lens of scrutiny recently after its online site was taken down, allegedly by Mexico’s gaming regulator. It did not take long for the web page to return, however, and resume regular operations.

Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) has also had Francisco Javier on its list of blocked persons since July 2021 under the suspicion of money laundering. On top of that, Big Bola was fined $29.76m by the Tax Administration Service (SAT) in 2018 for withholding payments of $7.25m. This was not their first infraction in this area either, as the company also missed payments to the Ministry of the Interior in 2014.

Big Bola said back then that it was negotiating with SAT, which also has the power to conduct seizures through accounts. 

A troubled history

The Attorney General’s Office previously targeted the brothers in an investigation into the sale of stolen fuel. The contraband was the property of the Pemex pipelines, which was then sold in Northern Mexico. The money received from the sale was allegedly laundered through a bank, which has since shut its doors.

conspirator in plans to assassinate José Guillermo Martínez Cárdenas and Lorenzo Sánchez Hidalgo

Francisco Javier’s legal troubles are also not isolated in Mexico; in 2020, he was the focus of a probe that identified him as a conspirator in plans to assassinate José Guillermo Martínez Cárdenas and Lorenzo Sánchez Hidalgo, two Spanish businessmen. 

Those two men are not patron saints, either— they attempted to swindle Francisco Javier during the sale of a Mexican property, and José Guillermo Martínez was eventually arrested by Interpol for his role in broader fraudulent activity including the property.

The assassination attempt never materialized, and the case was ultimately dropped. A first-hand source had reportedly agreed to testify but eerily disappeared before being given the chance. 

The would-be witness was said to be a part of the Sinaloa Cartel. Rumors then swirled that the man was paid off to slander the Rodríguez Borgio brothers, and the assassination attempt was one of the stories that he had conjured.