real estate saga

Government probe clears Mexican president and first lady of wrongdoing in housing scandal

AP

A government investigation has cleared Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, his wife and the country’s finance minister of any wrongdoing in a scandal involving luxury homes they bought from government contractors.

A special prosecutor appointed by the president said on Friday that no evidence had been found of a conflict of interest in property transactions with companies that went on to win government contracts during Peña Nieto’s time in office first as a state governor and later as president.

“There wasn’t any participation from Enrique Peña Nieto in the contracting procedures, which excludes the existence of a benefit, profit or advantage,” Virgilio Andrade, the special prosecutor, told reporters.

Earlier this year, Peña Nieto, facing slumping popularity ratings over the scandal, ordered the investigation of himself, First Lady Angelica Rivera and Finance Minister Luis Videgaray over the allegations, which surfaced after a series of media investigations into real estate deals involving top officials in the Mexican government.

Concluding a six-month investigation, Andrade said Peña Nieto and Videgaray purchased the homes from government contractors Constructora Urbanizadora Ixtapan and Grupo Higa before they held positions in the federal government.

The special prosecutor has published the findings of his investigation on the website of the government’s top transparency agency.