As we continue to monitor what will happen with the rest of the Nxivm cast – including whether there will be new charges and new defendants – and as we await announcement of sentencing dates for the Vanguard and his fellow convicts – near the top of the list sits Emiliano Salinas.
Will he be charged?
Where is he now?
Is he in Cuba hiding? Getting needed mental help?
It must be hard on the lad to have lost some 15 years of his life foolishly following a monster. But all of us do foolish things sometimes. Because of his famous father, it is harder for him to step it back.
He was the leader in Mexico of the Nxivm cult and he can’t easily live that down. His fame was a curse because his leader, Keith Raniere used Salinas’ powerful connections to lure other Mexicans into the cult.
He was – alongside with Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, and Clare and Sara Bronfman – always mentioned to new recruits as an important reason to join Nxivm – because of the elite membership. To all the Mexican recruits – his name was mentioned first and foremost – as a good reason to join Nxivm.
I suspect that Emiliano is actually a nice guy, a little simple, a little too trusting, far too into sex – with men and women both – to be paying enough attention to how he had been fooled.
Nxivm was the antidote to his father’s ruthless political operations. It was for Emiliano the way of peace and love. He believed in the Nxivm mission. He believed in peace as espoused by his lord Raniere. But he was bent too. Bent to Vanguard’s will.
Along with his business partner, and the man designated by Raniere to be his lover – Alejandro ‘Alex’ ‘El Duce’ Betancourt – Salinas headed Nxivm operations in Mexico for 15 years.
It was Raniere who persuaded Emiliano that he should become bisexual and enjoy congress with Alex. [Alex too was bent to the Vanguard’s will by being persuaded that he was Benito Mussolini in his past life and that his atonement was to follow everything the Vanguard prescribed.]
By the time Raniere was arrested in March 2018, Salinas had distanced himself from the scurrilous one. But their years together made it hard for him to simply wipe the slate clean.
Salinas has gotten more publicity in Mexico this past year than he probably has in his entire life and I think it is fair to say that a lot of it was fomented by his father’s enemies. This is a splendid chance to discredit the father by showing an imbecile son or a deceptive, depraved and criminal son – a son who would be part of an organization that would brand and blackmail women.
As for hard facts – actual crimes Emiliano Salinas’ is suspected of a participating in – there was a plot to kidnap several of Raniere’s female enemies and have them imprisoned, raped and possibly killed, after luring them to Mexico.
The plot never worked – no one was lured to Mexico – and sources inside Nxivm have recently said that the plot was not a serious one. They clumsily reached out to certain enemies who knew all along that they had this plot. Neither side took it seriously.
In other words, their efforts were so inept that the luring process was discovered at once and at least one of the proposed targets tried to make hay with it pretending she thought it to be much more serious than it really ever was.
Still – in fairness – these women and a lot of ex-Nxivm members are rightfully fearful of going to Mexico – even on a visit. Emiliano makes this threat serious by the fact of his father’s ruthless political reputation and Mexico’s corrupt governance.
It is easy enough to believe that Emiliano could bribe a judge or a police official to arrest Nxivm enemies if they should land in Mexico one day.
Emiliano also played a role in spying or rather trying to spy on Nxivm enemies.
It was stupid and actually ineffective – like much of Nxivm’s initiatives. It was not a good spy effort. They apparently hired fraudsters to do their spying with the result that they spent a lot of time and money spying on enemies, some of them quite prominent, and actually discovered nothing.
The spies they hired deceived them and made up their facts.
Later, those same spies [agents for Canaprobe] got caught by other clients and went to prison. One of them died in prison.
In addition to leading Nxivm Mexico [under his Vanguard], Emiliano was also part of the Nxivm USA board – since 2009.
He, along with Karen U, Clare Bronfman, Mark Vicente, Alex Betancourt, Lauren Salzman – and Nancy Salzman were the executive board.
Here is what Mark Vicente said about Emiliano at the trial of Keith Alan Raniere.
Vicente: Emiliano Salinas was the head of the Mexico City ESP Center along with his business partner, Alex Betancourt. He comes from a very, very influential family in Mexico. He was also one of the members of the Society of Protectors and he was also on the executive board with me and the others.
Vicente also testified that Nxivm encouraged its sales force to enroll, High net-worth individuals or people who had a large platform in the world.
Vicente said, That was seen as something really good and, you know, I was often congratulated, and I think other people were as well when you enrolled certain people.
Q: Did other members of the trusted group recruit these people of influence…?
A: Yes…. Sara Bronfman, Clare Bronfman, Emiliano Salinas, Alex Betancourt, Alejandra [Anaya] Gonzalez.”
Bulk Cash Smuggling
Vicente also testified that cash went north from Mexico to Albany [One has to wonder why Emiliano, whose father is fabulously wealthy, would have to be get involved with petty bulk cash smuggling.]
Lesko: Do you have … knowledge that the individuals within NXIVM, within the community, actually brought cash from Mexico to Albany?
Vicente: I do. I was in an executive board meeting once where a lot of cash was handed over. I believe it was handed …to Nancy Salzman.
Q: And who handed that cash over?
A: It was either Emiliano Salinas or Alex Betancourt, one of the two. Because what I was understanding was that when they … came to Albany, which is usually once a quarter, those monies would need to come to Albany.
Q: So they would transport cash from Mexico to Albany?
A: That’s my understanding.
Q: Do you know if that cash was reported or deposited in the bank account?
A: I have no idea.
In addition to having a high rank in Nxivm, Emiliano was also aware of DOS – despite claims he knew nothing of DOS.
According to Lauren Salzman’s testimony at the trial, at least three DOS women – Audrey, Kristin and Carly – requested the return of their collateral from Emiliano back in 2017.
This negates Emiliano’s argument that he knew nothing about the blackmail and branding schemes of DOS.
Here is Lauren ‘s testimony. She is questioned by Tanya Hajjar:
Q: Did she [Audrey] say anything about the circumstances under which the collateral had been taken?
A: Yes, that she believed that it was under false pretenses, that we had lied about Keith’s involvement [in DOS] and gained it based on misrepresentations.
Q: You testified that Audrey sent this request for collateral to you on July 7th?
Q: Was it then forwarded onward?
Q Who did she send it to?
A She sent it to all members of the board. The initial request came to Keith, Allison and myself. Then she forwarded it to … myself, Karen… Clare Bronfman, Alex Betancourt, Omar Boone, …. Emiliano Salinas ….
Q What was the date on which the email was forwarded?
A It on July 10th, 2017.
Q Did Audrey get her collateral back?
A No, nobody got their collateral back.
Q Did Kristin make a similar request for the return of her collateral?
A She did, yes.
Q When was that?
A Around the same time, a little bit later than Audrey.
Q Did she send it to you — what form did that request take?
A It was an email as well…
Q Around when was this email sent to you?
A The end of September in 2017.
Q And who else was it sent to?
A It was sent to the entire executive board… Alex, Emiliano, Clare, Karen, Omar, and myself.
Q And in the email what did Kristin request the return of?
A She requested the return of a video about her business and religion, a letter to her sister, a false journal entry about her parents and a photo of a letter denouncing her religion.
Q And were these all items of collateral that had been committed?
A Yes, they were.
Q Did Kristin express anything about the circumstances under which this collateral — she had given the collateral?…
A That she felt that they were false pretenses and that she was lied to on multiple occasions in the enrollment process about the brand and specifically the obtaining of collateral.
Q Why wasn’t their collateral returned to them or destroyed?
A …. because Keith said not to but, you know, the theory behind it was that it had been given to hold a promise and that promise was still valid even if they broke their promise, it was given for something in exchange for something, there was an agreement and so that agreement still existed at least in theory.
Q: Did a woman named Carly … make a request in connection with DOS?
Q And when was that?….
A On the 4th of July 2017.
Q And who did Carly send this email to?
A She sent it to the executive board, the greens and the admin team and then cc-d all of the leadership in Vancouver where she was a member of the ESP Center.
Q Can you name the individuals who are the executive board please?
A Myself, Clare, Alex, Emiliano and Karen and then she also sent it to the greens … who are myself, Esther, Emiliano, Alex, Sara Bronfman, and then included in that group as part of the leadership council was Sara and Mark Vicente. Then she sent it to the admin team which included my sister….
Q And what did she ask for in this request, what did she want?
A She wanted outstanding refunds that she was waiting for from NXIVM and V Week and I believe she was also asking for her collateral back.
Q What collateral did she request back?
A A pornographic style video and a video about her business as well as some photographs.
Q And this request for her collateral, a pornographic video and the video about her business, was sent to the entire executive board?
Lauren also testified that Alex [and probably Emiliano] were involved in intimidating DOS slaves into silence:
Q At some point did you become aware that NXIVM sent letters to certain DOS slaves in an effort to prevent them from speaking publicly?
A Yes. I was aware that some cease and desist letters had been sent, yes.
Q Do you know who at NXIVM sent those letters specifically?
A I believe they came from Alex Betancourt as representative of ESP Mexico [Which Salinas was partner and it was Salinas’s scary father that would make this letter effective].
Lauren also explained on the witness stand how Emiliano was asked to help silence Nicole. To his credit he did not participate.
Q Ms. Salzman, at some point did you have another conversation with the defendant [Raniere] about Nicole?
Q Can you tell the jury about that?
A Yes. So Alex Betancourt, who was one of my closest friends, came to me at one point in time, I think, in like February 2018. And said that Emiliano, who is another one of our closest friends, had come to … Alex and was upset because a women [Nicole] who had been one of Allison’s former slaves had confided in him that she was tasked to have sex with Keith and that she felt forced to do that.
And that Alex had suggested that Emiliano come and speak to me about it. And so Alex was giving me a heads-up that Emiliano was going to come raise the subject with me so that I was prepared to discuss it with him.
So I asked Alex, is it Souki, and he said no. And so I said, is it Nicole and he said yes. And so then I went to Keith to find out how to address this.
Q Why did you ask if it was Souki or Nicole?
A Because I wanted to understand — well, because they were the only two slaves of Allison’s who had left and who were speaking, who were raising concerns or bringing — raising that there had been issues and everybody else — it could only have been attributed to them and I wanted to know who it was, so I understood what kind of a conversation I was walking into.
Q What happened after that?
A I spoke to Keith and I told him about this, and asked him what to do, what should — what do I tell Emiliano?
Q What did he say?
A He told me that there had been no sex between him and Nicole and that he had given Nicole three trust tests and cited at least one that he had shown her a place in 8 Hale Drive which was the townhouse that he lived in, the executive library at one time, that he had shown her a bag of money and then left the money and later counted the money and saw that she had taken money and that he had given her three such tests and she had failed all of the tests and that she knew the truth, that she was misrepresenting the facts and that it would be good if Emiliano or somebody would bring this to her that she was not being truthful and urge her to tell the truth, change her story.
Q And how did you understand that direction to you, that it would be good if someone spoke to her?
A He was telling me to do that. Keith’s suggestions weren’t suggestions because if you didn’t do the suggestion, then there was feedback about why didn’t you do the suggestion and how you were making his life difficult and why this is really problematic. So, he wanted me to go talk to Emiliano and get Emiliano to talk to Nicole and to get her to be on the other side of this.
Q Did you meet with Emiliano Salinas?
A I did, yes.
Q What happened?
A We did discuss it. I mean most of the subject of my meeting with Emiliano was he was leaving the organization and didn’t want to be affiliated with NXIVM anymore and he and I were very close friends over many years and so that was very sad for me in the context of our relationship, so most of what we discussed was that, but we discussed Nicole and what he communicated with me was that Nicole told him that —
Q Ms. Salzman, without going into what Emiliano Salinas told you Nicole said, was whatever he said consistent with what you heard from the defendant in terms of what Nicole was saying?
A More or less, yes, and I communicated to Emiliano that I thought Keith would like it if somebody would talk to Nicole and get her to change her story.
Q These were instructions you conveyed to him that you got from the defendant?
A Yeah — well, I told him that that’s what I thought Keith would want. I didn’t instruct him to do it and he wasn’t going to do it, he was leaving ESP, but I didn’t want to go back and tell Keith that I hadn’t raised it so I communicated that I thought Keith would want that.
Q To your knowledge, did Emiliano Salinas approach Nicole?
A No, not to my knowledge.
Nicole was also a witness who raised Emiliano’s name. And again Emiliano looks both good and bad. He did his best to try to persuade Nicole that Keith was not an egomaniac – a blatant lie.
Nicole is questioned by Moira Penza.
Q: Before you took the first NXIVM class, was anyone else of prominence mentioned to you?
A …at some point Emi was mentioned.
Q And who was he?
A ... his dad was one of the former presidents of Mexico….
Q Did you become close with anyone … at V-Week 2015?
A Yeah. That’s where I became good friends with Emiliano.
Q And who introduced you to Emiliano?
A Mark [Hildreth] did.
Q Tell us a little bit, just briefly, about the development of your friendship over V-Week 2015.
A Well, Emi really liked to run as well. I think we started, like, just kind of running in the morning and chatting. I don’t know, it started out as a conversation, and then we went on a run, and he asked me — there’s, like, a 5K that’s done at V-Week. They have a little 5K race, and Emi was like, Why don’t you run the 5K? I was like, I don’t race. He’s like, It’s the same as if we would do a three-mile run.
So I was like, Okay, I guess. So, we ran the 5K.
Q How did you do in the 5K?
A Good. I got first for girls — women.
Q How did other people react to you getting first?
A Fine. I just remember, like, a couple of, like, guys that I knew being, like, I can’t believe you beat us. Sorry.
Q So, the men and the women ran at the same time?
A Yeah, but, also, there was a triathlon going on at the same time. There was a lot of things going on. And Emi barely beat me and he was like — I wish I would have beat him.
Q During that time, did you express any concerns to Emi about what you were seeing at V-Week 2015?
A Yeah. I just I kind of told him one day when we were running, I don’t know, it seems a little weird to me. Like, I’m not — I don’t really like situations where someone is idolized. It just feels weird. And he said, ‘Yeah, but, you know, Keith doesn’t want that. That’s not what he’s looking for. Like, people project that on to him. And, you know, sometimes people just want to believe in something more.’ Okay, but — yeah, he was, like, ‘Sometimes people just want to believe in something more and sometimes people project those things on to Keith. And it’s not something that he wants, but it’s just something that happens.’ And he also said that I didn’t need to worry about it because — I really wasn’t that involved in the ESP community, but he was, like, ‘It’s not like you have to.’ I was like, Okay, fair enough.
Q Did that conversation have any impact on you?
A Absolutely. I really trusted Emiliano’s guidance. I mean, he obviously comes from a respectable family, but he’s like super — he’s very smart, he’s well-educated, he went to Harvard. He’s not an idiot. And we formed a good friendship, so I trusted him. And I thought, Okay, like, you know, you really look up to this person but don’t idolize him as far as I could tell, so okay.
So as Nicole explains, it was Emiliano that did his utmost to try to persuade Nicole that Keith was not an arrogant rat bastard [which he is] and that he did not seek to be worshiped [which he did seek to be worshiped].
Penza Calls Salinas a Coconspirator
Perhaps the most damning revelation in the trial of Keith Raniere for Salinas is when Moira Penza openly called Salinas a coconspirator.
She said, “[T] he government is seeking to introduce [certain] email accounts in full. One of the email accounts has under a hundred pages of documents; one of the email accounts has about 500 pages of documents. The government’s position is that these email accounts are entirely criminal and demonstrates the nature of the enterprise.
“So one of the email accounts appears to have been created by Emiliano Salinas, who the government alleges is a coconspirator….
“[W]hat these email[s] as a whole demonstrate is [a] covert mission to gather … financial information on individuals who they believed were enemies of NXIVM.”
The judge agreed to allow the Salinas emails into evidence.
FBI Agent Describes How They Found Salinas’ Emails
Later, FBI agent Michael Weniger was called to the stand. He described how he came to find that Salinas was involved in spying on Nxivm enemies.
On the day following Raniere’s arrest in March 2018, the FBI conducted a search of the home of Nancy Salzman at 3 Oregon Trail in Clifton Park, New York. There, the FBI found a box with file folders with labels and names on the top of the folders.
Inside the box, there were documents that purported to contain financial information for individuals, including emails from an email account, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FBI determined that this email account was utilized in order to acquire banking information on enemies in an illegal manner.
Weniger Reveals the Search of Salina’s Email Account
Here is the relevant part of Weniger’s testimony on June 13. He is being questioned by Penza:
Weniger: Again, we reviewed all of the information within the box. And once we determined that there was some type of connection between the banking information and the electronic e-mail addresses, we requested and received search warrants for two specific e-mail addresses.
Penza: And what were those two e-mail addresses?
Weniger: One being email@example.com, the other being firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q And did you receive search warrant returns from those two accounts?
A We did.
Q Were you able to determine the primary users of those accounts?
A Yes…. for email@example.com, the subscriber that was actually listed was an individual by the name of Emiliano Salinas, who was part of the Defendant’s [Raniere] inner circle.
Salinas’ Role in Spying on Nxivm Enemies
Clare Bronfman utilized a Canadian investigation firm called Canaprobe to spy on Keith’s enemies. Salinas would use Mexican and American contacts to help spy on Raniere enemies.
Then they would compare notes.
Among the type of people they spied on – secretly trying to obtain bank account information were politicians, judges, and media representatives.
Raniere told the duo that he believed his enemies were being bribed by other enemies and he wanted them to look for large sums of money deposited into any of the enemies’ bank accounts.
He was looking especially for offshore bank accounts.
Salinas, Bronfman and Raniere spied on men at the local newspaper where Raniere lived: the Albany Times Union.
They spied on people associated with the Times Union newspaper: George Hearst, the Publisher; Rex Smith, the Editor; and Jim Odato, a reporter who had written stories about Nxivm.
George Hearst, the publisher
Rex Smith, the editor.
And Chet Hardin, a reporter for the Albany Metroland, a now-defunct weekly in the Albany area.
And Michael Freedman, who wrote a cover story for Forbes magazine on October 13, 2003, entitled “Cult of Personality”.
Then there were politicians:
They spied on Joseph Bruno, who was a Republican New York State senator, who took free flights on Clare and Sara’s private jet.
Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, who at the time was New York State Attorney General. He later became governor of New York but was forced to resign amid a prostitution scandal.
P. David Soares, the District Attorney in Albany County.
Charles Schumer, U.S. senator from New York, a Democrat.
Steve Pigeon, a Democrat political consultant.
Roger Stone, a Republican political consultant.
Both Pigeon and Stone worked for NXIVM as consultants. [Nxivm was spying on their own consultants.]
They spied on seven federal judges who at one time oversaw cases involving NXIVM.
U.S. District Chief Judge Gary L Sharpe
U.S. Magistrate Randolph F. Treece
U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh
U.S. Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Littlefield, Jr,
U.S. Magistrate Mark Falk
They also spied on people they were suing.
Rick Ross, of the Rick Ross Institute.
Morris Sutton, a defendant in a lawsuit with Rick Ross. Raniere/Nxivm was the plaintiff.
Juval Aviv, who owned a private investigation firm called Interfor, who was hired by NXIVM to conduct investigations in relation to Nxivm’s enemies.
They were investigating their own investigator.
Spying on Papa
They spied on Edgar Bronfman Sr., Clare Bronfman’s father, his business and his associates.
Stephen Herbits, one of Bronfman Sr.’s closest associates.
The World Jewish Congress, which Bronfman led.
Israel Singer, who was associated with the World Jewish Congress.
There were litigants who were connected to the Los Angeles real estate fiasco that Keith Raniere operated:
Yuri Plyam, Natalia Plyam – and their company, Castle Trading, were involved in the California real estate project that Clare and her sister Sara funded and Raniere guided.
The paranoia even extended to critics,
They spied on Deke Sharon, famous within the A Capella community, who was critical of Raniere. Raniere had tried to stage some A Capella concerts. He used Kristin Kreuk, Nicki Clyne, and Allison Mack to host the concerts.
David Touretzky, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, who was critical of the Raniere.
Carlos Rueda, a psychologist cited in newspaper articles providing opinions as to NXIVM and their curriculum and teachings.
They Spied on Joe O’Hara and Frank Parlato
Bronfman, Salinas and Raniere also spied on this writer.
They spied on former consultant, Joseph O’Hara. Ironically, O’Hara left Nxivm when he discovered Nxivm was spying on Rick Ross illegally.
They also spied on on one or more of Raniere’s former harem members who left him.
In reality, the effort was inept. They hired fraudsters to do the spying and Emiliano, Clare and Keith were too stupid to realize that the info was merely fabricated. But that does not eliminate the criminal racketeering aspect of it for Emiliano.
So now the questions remaining are whether Emiliano will be indicted? And how is his mental health?
As you can see, he is a mixed bag. For some godawful reason, he became deeply involved in Raniere then tried to get out.
He did not need to commit the crimes, and had he been a stronger individual, he would have refused to commit bulk cash smuggling and spying efforts for Raniere.
Like Clare Bronfman, Emiliano committed crimes for Raniere that were unnecessary and were not for his financial gain. It was like he fell under the spell of a madman and became mad himself.