Pemex Suspends Contracts to Firm Controlled by AMLO’s Cousin

Mexico’s state-owned oil company suspended contracts to businesses controlled by a cousin of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, arguing there was a lack of disclosure of familial ties with the government.

Litoral Laboratorios Industriales, owned by Felipa Guadalupe Obrador Olan, had won two of four public tenders from Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex, according to a statement by the oil company over the weekend.

Lopez Obrador, speaking at his morning press conference on Monday, said that his cousin, who had won Pemex contracts in the past, had associated herself with another company, where she was not listed as a legal representative.

“In Pemex they did not realize or there was omission and they delivered the contract,” Lopez Obrador said. The president said he had told the head of Pemex to act in accordance with the law. “Even when it comes to family, there will be no corruption,” he said.

The president, known as AMLO, has made fighting corruption the centerpiece of his administration, but his own relatives have put him on the defensive. He’s had to call for an investigation after two videos surfaced showing his brother receiving cash, and now his cousin is complicating his anti-graft message, which he has used to boost his Morena party ahead of legislative and state elections next year.

An exhaustive investigation has been launched into the contracts to determine consequences, Pemex stated. The company is also investigating the possibility that Litoral Laboratorios “has provided its services together or in support of other contractor companies” since 2014.

Obrador Olan’s relationship to the president “should have been reported as sensitive data” during the tender processes to senior company officials, according to the statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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