Jan 21, 2015

Mexico’s Pena Nieto Bought Home From Government Contractor: WSJ

NOTE: The Wall Street Journal digs up another Peña Nieto conflict of interest case, concerning another residence linked to a favored contractor. This makes four now that are in some way under investigation, including Videgaray's. In Mexico we know that these cases are almost certainly a very small part of the corruption (remember that his mentor, Carlos Salinas de Gotari managed a $1,350 million- pesos discretionary fund and his brother Raúl bought 41 properties as a government employee in his brother's adminisitration. Here is a good summary of the accusations).

I find it interesting that the Wall Street Journal is doing this kind of investigative reporting in Mexico. Several weeks ago I spoke with Rubén Luengas of the excellent Univisión radio show "Hablando Claro" about this. It seems that there is a powerful part of the U.S. international business class that would like to see Peña Nieto out of the way during the implementation of the reforms that he got passed in the country. The WSJ, Bloomberg (below), Forbes and others have been openly picking up the Ayotzinapa movement's calls for Peñá's resignation. That's some strange bedfellows that can't help but make one wonder what is afoot. It's possible that transnational companies are afraid that the traditional and ever more evident corruption of the PRI is bad for business. 

They seem to take the implicit position that corruption is fine when applied to the Mexican people through vote-buying and election-rigging. And it's fine when major companies like Walmart use bribes as a business lubricant. But the possibility that the government will syphon off some of the potential earnings of the long-awaited exploitation of Mexico's natural resource is more than they can handle. 

Bloomberg: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2005 bought a property from a developer whose construction firm went on to win almost $150 million in public works contracts during his time in public office, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pena Nieto, 48, bought the weekend home in an exclusive golf club in Ixtapan de la Sal, a resort town in the State of Mexico, from Roberto San Roman weeks after taking office, the newspaper reported, citing documents. A company San Roman started then won $107 million in business from the state when Pena Nieto was governor from 2005 to 2011, the Journal said. Read more. 

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