On my way to dinner with some friends last night, I spotted this megayacht docked along Harbor Drive in San Diego.
Today, the Union-Tribune had a small item about this 258-foot yacht. It’s called the Mariana. It’s not just a megayacht, it’s one of the world’s biggest megayachts. It has six staterooms, a 13-seat cinema, a wine cellar, a pool, and six decks, including a party deck with a dance floor and grand piano. You can rent it for 610,000 euros a week.
The Port of San Diego is rolling out the welcome wagon for the Mariana, the first to dock at its brand-new megayacht “Mediterranean mooring.” Yesterday, the Mariana notified the Coast Guard that it had dumped about 30 gallons of diesel fuel in San Diego Bay.
The yacht’s owner is Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Peralta Quintero.
Peralta made his fortune in 1994 by selling his family-owned Iusacell company to it to Bell Atlantic for $1.2 billion. This is reportedly his seventh yacht.
An investigation by Frontline’s Lowell Bergman turned up a Bell Atlantic confidential document that described the Peraltas as Mexican “robber baron[s]” who have always “had top-level collaborators in the Mexican government.”
In the middle of the Bell Atlantic deal, Peralta wired $50 million to the Swiss bank account of the Mexican president’s corrupt brother, Raul Salinas as part of a handshake deal between the two men. Swiss prosecutors say Salinas used the account to launder money from drug dealers. Peralta insisted the money had nothing to do with drugs.
Peralta also paid Carlos Hank Rohn $100 million as part of the cell-phone deal. Hank Rohn owned the franchise for Guadalajara and that was included in the purchase. Hank Rohn paid $10 million for it — a $90 million profit.
Hank was not only linked to Salinas, but a leaked U.S. government report called the Hank family a “major threat” because of the family helps narcotraffickers move drugs and launder money. (Hank’s flamboyant brother Jorge served as Tijuana’s mayor)
In 1997, Peralta was charged with fraud in Mexico for failing to pay $5 million in taxes and then acquitted. In 2002, he tried to buy the Anaheim Angels from Walt Disney Co. The next year, he got the Mariana, named for his wife.
So welcome to San Diego, Carlos Peralta! The Mariana, by the way, is homeported in the offshore tax haven of the Grand Cayman islands.