La Jornada – In progress, 300 labor lawsuits due to ISSSTE pension fraud

City of Mexico. Alleged acts of corruption involving officials of the Institute for the Protection and Social Welfare of Civil Servants (Issste) and Settlement and Arbitration Councils, in agreement with law firms, led to the fact that the agency improperly included additional compensation in the payment of hundreds of thousands of pensions, to the detriment billion pesos.

The Bureau awarded 237,901 pensions that included guaranteed compensation, the compensation for active federal employees, but which, under Bureau law in effect until 2007, should not be taken into account in calculating pension amounts.

Added to that are more than 300 ongoing labor disputes, with that payment being sought retroactively, according to data obtained through a public information request, confirmed by agency director Pedro Zenteno Santaella.

The Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Corruption (Femcc) at the State Attorney’s Office (FGR) has started proceedings in 34 investigative files on more than 180 pensions, which contain corruption networks that managed the retroactive payment of benefits.

Issste has already lost first-instance cases in labor courts, which it estimates needs about 16 billion pesos in retroactive payments, given the possibility of the resolutions being ratified, federal officials briefed on the report presented last August said. to cabinet members in the National Palace.

inflated payouts

According to its records, from 2001 to 2007, the Bureau awarded more than 30,000 annual pensions with guaranteed compensation included, an economic benefit for state workers that in some cases represents up to 60 percent of their fortnightly earnings.

In seven different rulings, the Supreme Court of Justice confirmed a part of the law that was in force until 2007, which excludes the contested provision in the calculation of pensions.

However, everything points to the fact that Issste awarded thousands of these inflated pensions through labor lawsuits, irregularly and through the omission of the agency’s lawyers, and is now obliged to pay them until the death of the beneficiary, with a consequent financial cost. .

said Zenteno Santaella Conference that Femcc started an investigation a year ago. The agency became aware of the fraud when it received notification of labor court cases and seizure of bank accounts, as a result of court cases won by workers.

He emphasized that this embargo is also controversial because the accounts of public figures are not subject to this measure.

“No more will be allowed”

On October 10, Issste filed four criminal charges against officials of the Institute, the Federal Council for Conciliation and Arbitration No. 42 and members of law firms, due to the agreement to grant 67 pensions with retroactive payment, resulting in financial damages of more than 3,800 million pesos .

Zenteno Santaella admitted that there are 300 ongoing labor disputes. “We will show that this is a fraud, that it is illegal and nothing more will be allowed.”

The total amount that Issste has to spend annually to pay the approved pensions between 2001 and 2007 has not been disclosed.

Federal officials explained that the law firms are offering retirees an additional benefit, in exchange for a 35 to 50 percent retroactive payment. Lawyers use their connections with institute officials to prevent them from responding to requests in a timely manner; in the federal regions they get so-called official papers that are forged, and in the labor committees they get court criteria on guaranteed compensation that are not applied.

These irregularities occurred before 2001, but today it is impossible to specify the number of cases that received additional compensation, because the historical salary records are “damaged or illegible”, reported the Sub-Administration for Pension Insurance Isssta.

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