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Is this the end for… Enrique Peña Nieto?

19 October 2021

Milenio… which has usually been seen as a not-particularly-friendly media company when it comes to the present administration, and somewhat an apologist for the previous one (at least in some of its opinion columns) publishe a shocking story… said to have been leaked by the Fiscal General’s (Attorney General in the US system) Office: the very real possibility that former president Enrique Peña Nieto, his #2, Luis Videgaray (who, incidentally, was a person and business associate of former US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner) and former PAN candidate, Ricardo Anaya … and other high ranking members of the two former ruling parties… will be charged with money laundering, criminal association and bribery.

The Odebrecht bribery scandal, which landed any number of Latin American and African politicians in hot water was always somewhat sidestepped in Mexico, until former PEMEX CEO, Emilio Lozoya … who either was the master-mind of the bribery scheme, or — having been extradited frm his Spanish refuge, and in protective custody since returning to Mexico (and looking to ameliorate his probable sentence whenever, ofr if, he is actually proecuted) had sopposedly been spilling his guts, fingering the high level former leaders, and detailing more serious allegations which could land them prison sentences of up to 60 years behind bars.

The Fiscal General’s Office (which is, at least in theory, independent of the Executive Branch) has been investigating Lozora’s claims for over a year, but according to the Milenio story, the Investigators only turned over their findings to the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime on the 2nd of September. A day later, the Speical Prosecutor’s prepared its “inveigative folder”… the first step in bringing formal charges… specifically against former President Peña Nieto and his Secretary of the Treasury, Luis Videgaray Caso, against whom arrest warrants had been sought last year, but where turned down by the judge. The new charge sheets also name (according to Milenio) former PAN senator Jorge Luis Lavalle, former presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, the sitting governor of Tamaulipas, Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, as well as former senators Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, David Penchyna Grub “and others”. In both the original and new documents, Peña Nieto and Luis Videgaray, are specifically named as those who “obtained resources” via Lozano from the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

According to the Fiscal’s Office, these “resources” (i.e. cash) was used both to finanance the PRI’s 2012 Presidential race (which Peña Nieto won… though “fair and square” might not be applicable here),as well as for bribes to both the lower and upper houses of Congress to vote in favor of changes to the Cnstitution and and in favor of laws related to the energy sector,which allowed foreign interests (specifically Oderbrecht) access to Mexican oil and other natural resources. In addition, the changes and new laws were designed to permit PEMEX to grant contracts favoring those foreign comapnies, specifically,the Brazilian firm.

The Attorney General’s Office — based on interviews with PEMEX, Legistaltive, and Oderbrect personnel,– turned their findings over to Alfredo Higuera Bernal, head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime, , “so that according to his powers, he may initiate what accords to the corresponding law ”.

I.E. file charges… or not.

So far, this story has only appeared in Mileoio and a few of the on-line news outlets. Surpisingly, there wss no mention (none that I saw) in the “mainstream” lefty Jornada. Whether or not this goes to court, and whether or not anyone ever sees Peña Nieto behind bars (the vertical kind… not the ones he’s been sighted hanging out in, in places like New York) is probably wishful thinking, but it does show there is more than lip-service being given to the present administration’s anti-corruption campaign: at least (according to those on the right) when it comes to previsous adminsitrations.

On the other hand, a bit amusing, is oppostion to a proposal from AMLO to hold a recall election, in which at least half the voters would have to support his finishing his term (in 2024). AMLO said he’s leave even if he received 60% of the vote to stay. Since to even have a recall, there would first need to be a referendum, the PAN and PRI argue that such a referendum would be likely to fail (like the recent one that would have permitted criminal prosecutions of former presidents… something that could happen anyway, though not for the charges mentioned by the Special Prosecutor’s Office… AND… if that doesn’t persuade their parties, then perhaps the realization that AMLO would receive more than 60% of the vote to stay is what weighs on their minds

FGR acusará a Peña Nieto, Videgaray y Anaya por delincuencia organizada (Milenio, 17 October 2021)

One Comment leave one →
  1. 19 October 2021 12:11 pm

    Hope springs eternal.

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