Mexico bans influential ex-minister from public office
MEXICOCITY – A former Mexican cabinet minister, Luis Videgaray, was banned from holding public office jobs or positions for 10 years for failing to properly disclose his assets during his tenure, the Mexican government said on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Public Administration (SFP) said he applied the maximum possible sanction to Videgaray for making inaccurate statements for three consecutive years when he was Minister of Finance and then Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Videgaray, who was widely regarded as the most influential minister under former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, denied making inappropriate disclosures, saying on Twitter he would appeal the decision.
Videgaray, who has dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing, said in a statement that SFP had noted omissions in its declarations of assets relating to bank accounts.
Videgaray said that they were in fact credit cards that he mentioned in an appendix to his statements and that they did not have any outstanding debts at the time.
“The statements are correct and there was no intention to withhold information about the assets from the SFP, he said, adding that the SFP had acknowledged in the notification sent to him that he had derived “no benefit” from the alleged omissions.
the SFP later responded to Videgaray’s remarks, saying the omissions were bank accounts, which contained sums of money that should have been reported.
the SFP said it opened an investigation in 2019 into Videgaray regarding its possible involvement in the 2014 purchase by state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) of a fertilizer plant known as AgroNitrogenados, which subsequently caused a scandal.
Asked publicly in February 2020 about his role in the scandals in Mexico, including the investigations relating to Pemex, Videgaray said he had done good things and made mistakes as a policy maker, but that he did not care. held on to his background.
Videgaray was informed of the sanction on May 11, but the news has not been made public so far due to the campaign for the midterm elections, which took place on Sunday, the SFP mentionned.
The Mexican government maintains that the plant deal wasted millions of dollars of public money and was marred by corruption.
The acquisition of AgroNitrogenados is part of a larger investigation by federal prosecutors into allegations of corruption under the Pena Nieto administration.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accuses the previous administration of plotting to destroy Pemex for the benefit of private interests.
the SFP said the sanction against Videgaray was independent of any other ongoing investigation.