Mexican president-elect accused of laundering money in his campaign
July 20, 2012 (TSR) - Gustavo Madero, chairman of the National Action Party (PAN) of outgoing President Felipe Calderón, told reporters on Thursday he was presenting a legal complaint about money laundering to the federal attorney general’s office.
“Any money coming from illicit sources can be laundered money” Madero said. ”It could be stolen, it could be from tax evasion, it could be money they have taken from a company, from the government or from state governments.”
Madero was speaking at a joint news conference with Jesús Zambrano, chairman of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), the main leftist grouping behind presidential runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has led the accusations against Peña Nieto.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO or El Peje, is a Mexican politician who held the position of Head of Government of the Federal District from 2000 to 2005, before resigning in July 2005. He managed to get support from the Conservatives for his accusation.
The attorney general’s office does not have the power to overturn the July 1 election.
However, money laundering charges could damage Peña Nieto, whose win puts the presidency back in the hands of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PRI ruled Mexico from 1929 until 2000, when it was defeated by the PAN.
Peña Nieto won the July 1 election with 38.2% of the vote, against Lopez Obrador with 31.6% and PAN’s Josefina Vazquez Mota with 25.4%.
Lopez Obrador has also legally challenged the vote with the electoral tribunal, accusing Peña Nieto of buying votes and calling for the election to be annulled.
The electoral tribunal has until September to rule on those charges and officially declare Peña Nieto president. It is widely expected to uphold the election.
Peña Nieto, who is due to take office on Dec. 1, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has called his win “categorical.” Calderón has congratulated him on his victory, as have dozens of world leaders.
Responding to the joint PAN-PRD announcement, PRI chairman Pedro Joaquin Coldwell dismissed the allegations as unfounded and called on the attorney general’s office to bring defamation charges against his party’s accusers.
“They should punish those that are using lies as an instrument of political propaganda,” he told a news conference.