Saturday, Apr 01, 2023

Another scandal shakes the Lopez Obrador government.

Another scandal shakes the Lopez Obrador government.

In an investigation conducted by the media company in the United States, Univision two properties of the Mexican prosecutor were uncovered. One in New York in front of Central Park and the other in California with a value of more than 3.5 million dollars, which would add to those recently revealed by Mexican publications.
One of these properties is located in New York, in an art deco building on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park; it is an apartment acquired in 2012 for 2.4 million dollars.

According to Univision’s investigation, the apartment is located near Fifth Avenue, at 1 East, 66th Street, facing Central Park.

Similarly, in Santa Monica, California, the official acquired another property for more than 1 million dollars in 2007, when he was still President of the Mexican Federation of Higher Education Institutions, A.C.

In an interview for Univision, Alejandro Gertz Manero informed that the property in New York was declared to the Mexican tax authorities and the Ministry of Public Administration. He also stated that the property in California “is perfectly registered”; however, he did not clarify whether or not it was declared to the Mexican tax authorities.

Such properties in the United States and others in Mexico could be investigated after Mexican media published about the alleged unjustified enrichment of prosecutor Gertz Manero. Following the media publications, Andrés Manuel López Obrador ordered investigations, but he was not the only one.

The UIF – Financial Intelligence Unit, through a confidential official letter sent to several banks in Mexico, requested the documents of 79 people to be handed over, including Alejandro and Federico Gertz Manero, brother of the prosecutor, as pointed out by the columnist of the Reforma newspaper, Peniley Ramirez.

Another name found on the list was that of López Obrador’s former legal advisor, Julio Scherer. Scherer’s name was mentioned in the Pandora Papers, the massive leak of documents from law firms dedicated to incorporating offshore firms abroad. The Mexican prosecutor explained to Univision that his investments are the product of a long-standing family fortune. “I have nothing to hide,” Gertz said.

In his most recent report to the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, Alejandro Gertz Manero refused to publicize his patrimonial data and possible conflicts of interest. However, he assured having declared his patrimony to the tax authorities and the Ministry of Public Function.

He told Univision that he prefers to keep the details of his fortune private to avoid “possible extortions”. The New York apartment, under Alejandro Gertz Manero’s name, apparently was purchased in cash, so when questioned about this fact, Gertz did not answer how he made the payment. Some apartments similar to the one owned by the Mexican prosecutor are for sale for an average of 3.5 million dollars. The 16-story building has concierge service, maids, elevator operator, private restaurant, and dog grooming salon.

On November 15, 2012, when Gertz Manero signed the deeds to the property, the official had finished his term as a federal deputy in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies, according to the list of public offices filed with the Prosecutor’s Office.

The fortune of Alejandro Gertz, 81, has been in the spotlight after last December 6. Journalistic investigations revealed that the official bought 122 cars between 2014 and 2015, several Mercedes Benz and a Rolls-Royce.

Mario Maldonado, a columnist for EL UNIVERSAL, added a house in Paris to the official’s unknown assets. In October, Proceso magazine revealed that Gertz also owns a home in the exclusive neighborhood of “Las Lomas” in the Mexican capital.

In an interview for Univision, the prosecutor pointed out that the media publications are part of a campaign of “media harassment,” which has its origin in the departure of two government officials. Although he did not mention their names, it is public knowledge that in recent months López Obrador accepted the resignation of his legal advisor, Julio Scherer Ibarra, and of Santiago Nieto, director of the UIF with whom Gertz had a conflictive relationship.

A journalistic report made by Mexican-American journalist Alonso Castillo Cuevas revealed part of the new information about Gertz’s fortune. On September 22, Castillo Cuevas asked the UIF to investigate possible financial crimes in the movement of 7.8 million dollars in tax havens “linked to the Attorney General of the Republic Alejandro Gertz Manero,” reads the document made public by Univision. At the time of the complaint, the entity was under the direction of Santiago Nieto. As proof of his complaint, the journalist attached a document that he identified as a “statement of accounts” of Federico Gertz Manero, the prosecutor’s brother, in the Swiss bank Bank Julius Bäer, specialized in wealth management. The complaint states that these statements “describe millionaire deposits” made through an investment consultancy based in Panama.

President López Obrador has stated on multiple occasions that the fortunes of his public servants go against his austerity policies. “We must recommend to public servants to act with moderation, with austerity, and to follow the example of Benito Juarez, who said that the public servant should learn to live in modesty,” said AMLO in one of his morning conferences.

The above mentioned is contrary to what the President preaches. Multiple possible corruption cases have tarnished his government, including those involving his children, his brothers, a cousin, and close cabinet members.

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