Eduardo Asunsolo, far famed as one of five members of the NXIVM-5, those hardy – some say fool-hardy – fighters for the due process rights of convicted Keith Raniere, has taken to the Mexican media – hitting the top almost at once – to not only defend Raniere but his friend Emiliano Salinas.
Salinas is the reason Mexico is even interested in the affairs of NXIVM. Salinas is the son of the former president of Mexico, Carlos Salinas. Until the NXIVM scandal, Emiliano was a popular and attractive figure who was quietly being groomed to run for president of the nation.
Asunsolo hit the jackpot in his efforts to bring publicity to his cause, getting a large spread in one of Mexico’s largest magazines – Quien.
The article is titled “La historia de los Salinas con NXIVM revelada por allegado a Emiliano y Raniere” or in English:
“The history of Salinas with NXIVM revealed by someone close to Emiliano and Raniere”
Here is an English translation of the story, by online translator and my own rudimentary knowledge of the language and the topic covered. [My own comments are in bold and brackets]
The Quien story appears without an author byline and begins:
In 2018 the NXIVM case shook the world. A few months earlier, in October 2017, The New York Times uncovered the crimes committed by the so-called sex cult and its leader, Keith Raniere, in a detailed report on the enslaving practices of the Albany, New York-based community.
[The New York Times credited me with actually breaking the story: “Mr. Raniere’s followers learned of the secret society from a website run by a Buffalo-area businessman, Frank R. Parlato Jr. Mr. Parlato had been locked in a long legal battle with two sisters, Sara and Clare Bronfman, who are members of Nxivm and the daughters of Edgar Bronfman, the deceased chairman of Seagram Company…In early June , Mr. Parlato published the first in a torrent of salacious posts under the headline, ‘Branded Slaves and Master Raniere.’”]
After the publication of the article, victims criminally denounced Raniere, who was taking refuge in Mexico, and in March 2018, he was arrested in Puerto Vallarta.
After months of investigation and hearings that included the testimonies of victims, US authorities verified that Keith led a system of sexual slavery of women under a scheme called DOS, which required victims to send nude photos and other sensitive materials that could be used against them if they tried to leave the group. In addition, it was found that women were branded as a sign of belonging to the group.
In July 2019, Raniere was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, sex trafficking and possession of child pornography, and in October 2020 he was sentenced to 120 years in prison.
[Raniere was not actually convicted of child pornography. This was rolled into his racketeering charge as one of the predicate acts.]
During the investigations and hearings, the names of at least a dozen Mexicans who were part of the community emerged. The most famous was Emiliano Salinas, son of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
Emiliano Salinas led ESP (Executive Success Programs) in Mexico, an arm of NXIVM established between 2002 and 2003 that offered workshops on leadership, human development and personal growth.
After the controversy generated by being involved with NXIVM, Emiliano issued a statement at the end of May 2019 in which he dissociated himself from the crimes committed by the association.
“I have never participated or been involved in any way with DOS. When at the beginning of 2018 an acquaintance involved in DOS decided to tell me about her experiences, I resigned and immediately cut off any kind of contact with NXIVM, this with deep consternation at the atrocities that I heard.”
[It is not quite true that Emiliano immediately quit. As secretly recorded tapes between Emiliano and Toni Zarattini prove, Emiliano knew about DOS and at first defended it. It appears that Raniere misled him to a degree on this matter, as even some of his supporters admit — particularly in the realm that Raniere misled his other followers — that he, Raniere, had no involvement in DOS.]
[Former president Carlos] Salinas’ son was described by US prosecutors as a “co-conspirator” of the NXIVM racketeering enterprise, but was not charged or required in court. Since then, he has limited his public appearances and has chosen to leave behind the media life he led with his wife, actress Ludwika Paleta.
Although Emiliano has remained silent, a person who was close to him told Quien what he witnessed when he was part of ESP.
This is Eduardo Asúnsolo Ramírez, who believes that the history of NXIVM achieved ‘high flights’ since it was learned that one of the most prominent leaders of the company in Mexico was Salinas. From then on, an avalanche of [negative] stories centered on him emerged, in large part because he was the son of a former president.
“Many stories confuse the ‘sins’ of the father with those of the son, so all the enemies of Don Carlos, with clear political motivations, were happy that the prodigal son was involved in such a lewd and scandalous story,” Asunsolo said.
According to Eduardo, “Emiliano is not the man that the Mexican media portray. I know this very well because I know him almost as well as Keith Raniere. I am a supporter and friend of Raniere and, although I am saddened by Emiliano’s distancing from the group of friends [the NXIVM community] … myself and most of us who still support Keith and his teachings, have warm and strong feelings for Emiliano.
“When the news of DOS appeared in Mexico, Emiliano publicly distanced himself from Raniere and that was a tragedy since the two men had been friends for more than 15 years. Keith, who is 15 years older than Salinas, was his mentor and teacher. And that extended to the entire family. Emiliano was not only a student, coach and teacher at ESP,” explained Asúnsolo Ramírez.
According to Eduardo, Emiliano’s sister, Cecilia, “was also a teacher and her mother, the former Mexican first lady Cecilia Occelli, participated in many of the courses. If anyone knows anything about the first lady, it is that she is the soul of dignity and decorum. She would never side with any kind of scandal. ”
Regarding Emiliano Salinas’ initial introduction into ESP, Eduardo explained that it was “Alejandro Betancourt, a good friend of Emiliano, who was the first to join the ESP courses with great excitement. When Emiliano was in his late twenties finishing his Harvard thesis, Emiliano decided to try the courses too. And he loved it. The emphasis on critical thinking, ethics, thinking outside the box.
“Creating wealth through independent and honest methods attracted this highly intellectual man. He then met Raniere with whom he immediately formed a very powerful bond. They used to discuss ideas, from how to bring peace to Mexico to how to examine and think about different facts and interpretations. Emiliano would use some of these lessons to finish his doctoral thesis,” he added.
Cecilia Ocelli also learned about the courses promoted by her son Emiliano Salinas and took several.
According to Eduardo, ESP “taught” Emiliano to create wealth that did not come from his family: “In that sense, he distanced himself from so many children of the rich and famous, with more money than they need at their disposal, without having to work for him, who choose a life of pleasure and tranquility, but Emiliano wanted to work and leave his own mark.
“It is possible that his father did not like this new commitment on the part of Emiliano, but it seems that, as his sister, his mother and other members of the family were also involved and loved him, his father ended up accepting the participation of Emiliano in ESP too, “he revealed about Carlos Salinas.
This led to Emiliano and Alex teaming up to open the ESP Center in Mexico City.
“Emiliano built this center without using the high-level contacts that he and his father had. He built a center where people from all walks of life came together and felt welcome. You didn’t have to be elite to be part of the center. ESP de Emiliano in Mexico City and he was never distant or above the people who were students.
“The idea that his participation in ESP had to do mainly with VIP contacts is more a myth than a truth,” commented Eduardo, who regarding the separation of Keith and Emiliano, the actor assured that “it is possible that the failure of Keith with Emiliano was the failure to provide him with all the information he needed to defend himself against the accusations.
[Eduardo admits that Raniere lied or lied by omission, leaving his student, Emiliano, in effect, ‘hung out to dry’ and get roundly savaged in the Mexican media. In fact, Emiliano’s planned political career was destroyed by this.]
“Emiliano and others whose reputations were important to them were misinformed about the details of the sisterhood, so when he came out to defend Keith, he did so with statements that he understood to be true but were not. So he parted ways from NXIVM and Keith, bad publicity and scandals led him to distance himself, “he said.
Asúnsolo Ramírez wanted to make it very clear that when Keith came to Mexico trying to restore his company, “Emiliano said he had no plans to meet with him. They never saw each other again.”
Eduardo assures that he shared experiences with Emiliano for more than a decade, but he no longer has communication with him.
It is known that after the revelation of the NXIVM case, Emiliano cut off relationships with his closest associates, including Alejandro Betancourt , one of his closest friends and his partner in the ESP project.
[Is it true that Betancourt and Salinas are no longer associates? That’s worth looking into, for besides being partners in NXIVM, they were also partnered in a series of business ventures, including Prorsus Capital. The website still lists both men as members of the team, with Betancourt as president and Salinas as vice president. Another NXIVM member, Farouk Rojas, is also mentioned as IT director.]
Alejandro has also kept a low profile since the outbreak of the scandal in late 2017, as has Emiliano.
Emiliano’s last “appearances” were made through a series of stories and Instagram posts by his wife, Ludwika Paleta, and that of fellow actress Grettell Valdez , with whom they met in London at the end of June 2019.