Mexico's attorney general investigating ex-president

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office says it has opened several lines of investigation against former President Enrique Peña Nieto

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 03 August 2022 00:06 BST
Mexico Ex-President
Mexico Ex-President (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday that it has opened several lines of investigation against former President Enrique Peña Nieto, several weeks after the country’s anti-money laundering agency accused the former leader of handling millions of dollars in possibly illegal funds.

Peña Nieto is under investigation for election-related crimes tied to company, money laundering and illicit enrichment, according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office.

The press statement referred to him only as “Enrique ‘P’” in keeping with Mexican policy of not identifying those accused of crimes. But an official with the prosecutor’s office confirmed that it concerned Peña Nieto.

Peña Nieto governed Mexico from 2012 to 2018 and has since been living in Spain. When the criminal complaint from the Financial Intelligence Unit was announced last month, Peña Nieto wrote in his Twitter account that his money was legally obtained.

No charges have been filed.

Last month, Pablo Gomez, the head of the unit said a company run by Peña Nieto’s family had “a symbiotic relationship” with a firm that received about $500 million in government contracts while he was president.

Tuesday's announcement did not add many details, but it did name Spanish construction company OHL, which has a subsidiary in Mexico, as being involved in a number of the allegations against Peña Nieto. It said charges could come in that investigation in the coming months.

Gomez had also said Peña Nieto received money transfers from a relative, apparently linked to two companies — his family's and one receiving government contracts — for about $1.3 million after leaving office.

In 2016, Mexico’s National Banking and Stock Commission fined OHL the equivalent of more than $4 million over alleged accounting irregularities, the largest penalty ever issued by the body at the time.

OHL's Mexican subsidiary said at the time that it “has always acted with transparency and with the best corporate practices.”

A year earlier, OHL was embroiled in a scandal in Mexico over possible corruption related to highway contracts. Recordings surfaced that purported to show company executives discussing bribes and plotting to raise road tolls.

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