Anti-Graft Champion AMLO Finds Brother in Way of Mexico Crusade
(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said prosecutors should investigate his brother after two videos surfaced showing him receiving cash, a revelation that threatens to hurt the government’s anti-corruption stance.
The cash handed to his brother was money used to fund operative costs including gasoline for the president’s Morena party, Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, said on Friday, adding that he didn’t know if the resources were declared to the electoral authority as typically required. The recordings were done in 2015 and aren’t likely to involve government money, he said.
The videos, published by the website Latinus on Thursday, show Pio Lopez Obrador taking an envelope and a paper bag of cash from David Leon, a rising star from AMLO’s administration who has recently been named to a key post in the Health Ministry. Leon said he had been collecting donations for Morena in the state of Chiapas and that he won’t be taking up the government post until cleared of wrongdoing.
The revelation puts AMLO on the defensive as Mexico’s political elite is engulfed in a corruption scandal involving past administrations. The purported testimony of Emilio Lozoya, a former chief of state-owned oil company Pemex who is cooperating with prosecutors, was leaked on Wednesday showing allegations that three former presidents and over a dozen ex-ministers and legislators were guilty of bribery.
Lopez Obrador, who promised to eliminate corruption from Mexico, said the videos were leaked by his opponents as a reprisal for his crusade to clean up public life in a country that lags behind on transparency.
“Our adversaries are trying to equate these things and say they are the same. That’s not the case. We are not equals,” AMLO said in a daily press conference from Aguascalientes.
The president said the Attorney General’s office should nonetheless start an investigation into the videos and that his brother and Leon should offer to testify. Lopez Obrador also offered to testify if needed.
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