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Last year, after prosecutors accused a Mexican businessman of illegally donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to a handful of San Diego politicians, we set out to answer a big question to emerge from the scandal: Just who was this guy?
He was often referred to simply as the “foreign national” – but his name is José Susumo Azano Matsura. And we learned that his interactions with local politicians were possibly the least interesting thing about him. For one, Azano sells advanced surveillance technology, including an almost a half-billion dollar deal with the Mexican government for Israeli-made spy gear.
Another thing we quickly found out: You can’t study Azano for long before you run into a major San Diego force, Sempra Energy.
Sempra and Azano have been locked in an intense feud that has lasted years and led to countless claims of bribery and other wrongdoing, and has roped in the highest levels of the U.S. and Mexican governments.