The latest advances in cases against high-ranking officials of the PRI have occurred more in the superficial terrain of administrative sanctions, coups promoted by the Government, than in the substantive decisions of the courts. This Tuesday, the Ministry of Public Function announced the disqualification for 10 years of Luis Videgaray, the strong man of former President Enrique Peña Nieto, for irregularities and concealment of information about his assets. This week it was also known that the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), dependent on the Ministry of Finance, prepares the sixth complaint against the former director of Pemex Emilio Lozoya.
The two movements contrast with the opacity and lack of transparency with which the judicial process against Lozoya, detained more than a year ago, as well as the stalling of the trial against former secretary Rosario Robles, the only PRI president in prison for the mega corruption plot known as the Master Scam. All this, in the midst of an electoral hangover that has placed the PRI in a privileged position as a possible partner of Morena in Congress and with the consultation to judge the former presidents, scheduled for August 1, as a new milestone on the near horizon. .
Up to two occasions the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) has already presented an arrest warrant against Videgaray for the Odebrecht case, according to a leaked report in November. On both occasions, the judges have dismissed them for the moment for reasons of form, but the fence of Justice tightens more and more against the one who was Chancellor, Secretary of the Treasury and campaign manager of Peña Nieto in 2012, on which he also flies over the target of the Prosecutor’s Office.
Videgaray has two open judicial fronts: the accusations by Lozoya of being responsible, together with the former president, of receiving and managing millionaire bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht; and the accusations of another senior PRI official of ordering the diversion of millionaire resources from social programs against hunger to buy votes and finance PRI campaign events. But at the moment he is only affected by administrative disqualification from holding public office for a decade due to “the lack of veracity in his wealth declarations for three consecutive years,” according to the statement from the Ministry of Public Function, the ministry that oversees administrative irregularities.
The knot of the judicial process on the ramification of the network of millionaire bribes of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht also remains paralyzed. Lozoya was arrested in February of last year in a luxury development in Spain. Extradited to Mexico on July 29, the former director of Pemex was finally indicted for the crimes of money laundering, criminal association and bribery.
Since then, the case has developed between little transparency and the controversy caused by the benefits granted to the politician in exchange for collaborating with the Justice. As part of the agreement, Lozoya has accused the PRI leadership during Peña Nieto’s administration of receiving and allocating some 500 million dollars to the 2012 electoral campaign and to the purchase of votes from opposition congressmen to ensure the approval of the controversial energy reform. While fears are growing that the corruption scandal, with repercussions on Mexico’s political balances, will go unpunished, the only news about the case is the new complaint announced by the UIF, which accuses Lozoya of operating a network of front companies in collaboration with Odebrecht to divert another 200 million dollars.
The trial against Rosario Robles, the only ex-minister of Peña Nieto imprisoned, since 2019, for her involvement in a mega corruption plot known as the Master Scam, perpetrated during the years of the previous government and that would be around 400 million dollars, is also stalled. . At the beginning of the year, the defense of the former secretary of both Social Development and Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development, began to negotiate with the Public Prosecutor’s Office an agreement to reduce her sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to the crimes charged against her, improper exercise of the public service and omission, which in the end would have allowed millionaire detours. Two months ago, in a new turn of the defense, Robles declared himself innocent again, overturning the possible agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office and returning the ball to the starting point: the accusation of 21 years in prison and the payment of 250 million euros. dollars as compensation for the damage.
In this context of tug of war, the results of Sunday’s elections have arrived. The rise in the PRI’s seats places him as a possible Morena partner in order to achieve a qualified majority. The three-quarters of the Chamber necessary to open the door to constitutional reforms are López Obrador’s workhorse for the second half of the six-year term. Aware of the strategic position in which the PRI bench has remained, the president has already thrown the first glove on them as future parliamentary partners. In the background, there is also the controversial referendum for citizens to decide whether or not the last five former presidents should be judged, including the PRI members Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo and Enrique Peña Nieto. Once the proposal has been launched by the president and its constitutionality has been validated by the Supreme Court, the consultation will take place on August 1.
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