Corruption in Mexico

06/19/18 The New York Times

corruptionTo the Editor:

Re “Criminal Cases in Graft Scandal Stifled in Mexico” (front page, June 11):

It comes as no surprise that although Mexico’s government has evidence to charge officials connected to one of the biggest corruption scandals in Latin American history, it is refusing to bring charges because they might hurt the governing party ahead of presidential elections. That’s the way things have worked in Mexico for decades.

What’s new is the growing power and determination of civil society to document abuses and push for change.

Last month, my organization joined with eight Mexican NGOs to reveal widespread collusion between public officials and drug cartels, resulting in massacres, forced disappearances, torture and other brutal violence.

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In Mexico, longtime foes ‘AMLO’ and elite getting pragmatic

06/19/18 The Washington Post

Andres_Manuel_Lopez_ObradorMEXICO CITY — On the campaign trail, presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has railed against a corrupt and “rapacious minority” of business executives who oppose him because they know they will have to “stop stealing” if he wins the July 1 election.

Executives have fired back with newspaper ads charging the leftist politician, who is making his third run for the presidency, is a populist demagogue who would set Mexico back decades by returning it to a time of heavy-handed state intervention.

Now the two sides, by all appearances, have sat down and talked it out.

After more than a decade of mutual recriminations, Mexico’s wealthy elite and Lopez Obrador have lately reached something resembling an uneasy truce. It’s not that they have reconciled their differences, but rather it’s the result of pragmatic calculation by both sides.

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Mexico Arrests Ex-Prosecutor in Disappearance Cases

06/18/18 The New York Times

Mexican Military Police Photo by Flickr user ilya ginzburg find link to pictureMEXICO CITY — Mexican police have arrested a former state prosecutor in the forced disappearance of over a dozen people.

The arrest of former Veracruz state prosecutor Luis Angel Bravo is the latest in a string of arrests targeting the top law enforcement officials under former Gov. Javier Duarte.

Duarte was governor from 2010 to 2016 and is himself in jail on corruption charges.

Veracruz Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes said Monday that Bravo helped cover up and hide the bodies of about a dozen people. Yunes called it “a tale of terror.”

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Mexico presidential front-runner denies opponent’s charge of wrongdoing

06/14/18 Reuters

amloThe website of a Mexican political opposition party was hit by a cyber attack during Tuesday’s final television debate between presidential candidates ahead of the July 1 vote, after the site had published documents critical of the leading candidate.

Candidate Ricardo Anaya, who heads a right-left coalition, brandished documents at a presidential debate on Tuesday claiming builder Jose Maria Rioboo received contracts without a competitive bidding process.

Lopez Obrador told reporters on Wednesday the contracts given to Rioboo did not violate any law and studies showed he was the best man for the job.

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Mexico Could Press Bribery Charges. It Just Hasn’t.

06/11/2018 The New York Times

pena nieto wefMexico’s government has enough evidence to charge officials connected to one of the biggest corruption scandals in Latin American history. But it is refusing to bring charges because they might hurt the governing party ahead of presidential elections, according to three people with direct knowledge of the case.

The scandal involves the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which has admitted to paying nearly $800 million in bribes up and down Latin America to secure government contracts in a dozen countries. Fallout from the investigations has touched nearly every nation in the Americas where the company operated, with presidents impeached, officials arrested and national politics upended from Peru to Panama.

But there have been two notable exceptions: Venezuela, an international pariah with an authoritarian government, and Mexico, where two separate federal investigations have stagnated.

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Mexican Electoral Campaign Flush With Illegal Funding

05/29/2018 New York Times

For every peso declared to Mexican electoral authorities by political electionsparties and candidates, 15 more are moving under the table, according to a report Tuesday on the problem of illegal campaign finance.

The nonprofit Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity published the report after months of investigation, concluding that Mexico’s public campaign finance system has failed to keep illegal money from influencing elections.

The report says that the cash moving around electoral campaigns is such that Mexico’s central bank has documented inexplicable increases in the amount of cash circulating in the economy in the five months before elections.

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Mexican businessman gets more than six years prison in U.S. fraud case

05/29/2018 Reuters

prison cell blockA former partner and part-owner of Mexico’s InvestaBank SA was sentenced to six years and three months in prison on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to a U.S. charge that he and others fraudulently obtained $21 million in tax refunds from the Mexican government.

Carlos Djemal Nehmad, 57, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan, federal prosecutors announced. Under a plea deal reached with prosecutors last year, he cannot appeal the sentence.

“I was extremely disappointed in the length of the sentence,” said Ronald Fischetti, Djemal’s lawyer. “He lived a law abiding life up to this one mistake. No one in the United States lost any money whatsoever.”

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