Who is Javier Burillo Azcarraga, the Mexican tycoon arrested after son’s boat death?
He inherited one of the most famous names in Mexico.
Javier Burillo Azcarraga’s grandfather founded the company that would become Grupo Televisa, the world’s largest Spanish-language entertainment company. Burillo would go on to marry a former Mexican president’s daughter in 1989 and over the years make a name for himself developing luxury resorts in Mexico.
But on Sunday, the 57-year-old was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with a vessel, willful harm or injury to a child and operating a boat while under the influence after his 11-year-old son died on a boating trip in San Francisco Bay. Records show Burillo was released Monday afternoon on $1-million bond.
The Marin County district attorney’s office said Tuesday that the case was still being reviewed.
Although police identified him as Javier A. Burillo, property records reviewed by the Associated Press show Burillo’s full name is Javier Burillo Azcarraga, a wealthy developer with ties to one of the most powerful families in Mexico.
The Azcarraga family founded the Mexican network Grupo Televisa, an international media leader that produces Spanish-language programming throughout Latin America. Over several decades, the media conglomerate has dominated in television, publishing and radio broadcasting.
According to Univision, Burillo owns several restaurants, hotels and high-end resorts in Mexico, including in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Property records also show that Burillo’s Marin County home was purchased in 2004 for $10.2 million and that he and his wife, Rose, own properties in San Diego and Sausalito, according to the Associated Press.
Although any professional involvement between Burillo and Televisa is unclear, the Marin Independent Journal reports that divorce court filings show Burillo has nontaxable income of $176,000 per month from family sources.
“Javier is a member of an extraordinarily and politically powerful family in Mexico,” Rose wrote in a court filing seeking child support.
Javier Burillo Azcarraga is listed on public genealogy websites as the grandson of Emilio Azcarraga Vidaurreta, as reported by a Univision station.
When Haim Saban and billionaire-led private equity firms acquired Univision Communications for $13.7 billion in early 2007, they figured the nation’s largest Spanish-language media company would be a sure bet.
Televisa’s founding can be traced back to 1930, when Azcarraga Vidaurreta bought a Mexico City radio station as the family’s first venture in communications.
His son, Emilio Azcarraga Milmo, would go on to head the board and name the company Televisa after his father’s death in 1972, the New York Times reported. His work would make him a billionaire and establish his family business as a media dynasty.
Emilio Azcarraga Jean, Azcarraga Milmo’s son — who served as the company’s chief executive for nearly two decades after his father’s death in 1997 — ranks on Forbes’ 2019 list of billionaires with a net worth of $1.3 billion.
Based on this family tree, Burillo is believed to be the cousin of Azcarraga Jean, who stills serves as president.
Televisa, once known as Telesistema Mexicano, is credited in the book “Mexico: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History,” by Don M. Coerver, Suzanne B. Pasztor and Robert Buffington, with revolutionizing Mexican television by bringing telenovelas to mainstream audiences, a force in the company’s monopolization of television broadcasting.
The company has long worked with Univision as a broadcaster of its shows, particularly its telenovelas, in the United States. Univision pays Televisa, which also owns a stake in Univision, nearly $400 million a year in royalties for the programming, although that may change as Univision looks beyond Televisa’s telenovela offerings.
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