Mexican billionaire charged in campaign conspiracy

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SAN DIEGO — A wealthy Mexican businessman who has a home in Coronado was charged Thursday in federal court for conspiracy and funneling illegal campaign money to local politicians.

Azano-MatsuraThe charges against José Susumo Azano Matsura come two days after Marco Polo Cortes, a local lobbyist, Ravneet Singh, the owner of a campaign services company, and former San Diego Police Department Detective Ernesto Encinas  were indicted in the case by a federal grand jury.

Federal prosecutor have said Cortes, Singh and Encinas funneled more than $600,000 in foreign money into San Diego political campaigns. Until now, prosecutors had not identified Azano Matsura as the source of the money, though he had been identified in news reports and the money man.

Cortes, Singh and Encinas are accused of trying to hide the source of large donations to local campaigns, including the 2012 mayoral campaigns of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Bob Filner. It is illegal for non-citizens to contribute to U.S. election campaigns.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Azano Matsura wanted to turn San Diego’s bayfront into a West Coast version of Miami.

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