EFE: The Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Mexico (FGR) on Saturday denied the occurrence of “political persecution” against Ildefonso Guajardo, former Minister of Economy of President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) which was on Friday. He was prosecuted for illicit enrichment.
After the accusation, Guajardo, who is also a former treaty negotiator between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC), said he was calm and assured that he would provide evidence of his innocence.
“I am calm (…) the evidence that proves my innocence before this unjust accusation of the FGR will testify to what he asserted (…) I do not want to accuse anyone, but this smells of political persecution for me,” Guajardo said in a website dedicated to the meeting on Friday.
In a statement, the FGR said this Saturday that Guajardo and his attorney “have brought to all media, since the end of this week, their standards and rationale for the criminal case they both face.”
In this light, the FGR responded that “Guajardo and his lawyer’s statements are completely false”, meaning that the case “smelt of political persecution”, and that they were not allowed to see the evidence.
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The Public Prosecutor’s Office noted that the complaint on this matter was submitted by the Federal Public Service Secretariat, before the FGR, on 12 October 2020.
While the Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor’s Office (FEMCC) merged the corresponding file, which the accused was made aware of as of March 8, 2020, and granted him “access to all evidence presented”, which continued until the day he was heard.
The FGR noted that the main charge relates to the defendant’s offshore account, with a balance of 8.16 million pesos (about $410,000), an amount it claims comes from a disclaimer he made in 2014, from half of the property that was there. He inherited it for him and his sister.
In this regard, Guajardo handed over the act relating to this matter whose “half of which, in any way, does not correspond to the amount which he claims was deposited from that source”.
In addition to the fact that the judiciary gave him at the hearing a new opportunity to present the above-mentioned evidence as well as to request a postponement of the corresponding proceedings, the accused did not take any of these options into account.
Now, the former ruling PRI politician must periodically sign and will not be able to leave the country, according to the FGR, which will have four months for a supplemental investigation.
“During the years 2014 to 2018, this individual, as a government employee, likely obtained an unjustified increase in his assets, the source of which he was unable to establish,” the attorney general’s office said.
Guajardo endorsed the PRI’s candidate for governor of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, Adrian de la Garza, in the June 6 elections, who lost the election after a campaign in which the president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, publicly accused him of buying votes with a ticket.
Despite this, Guajardo was elected as a federal deputy for Nuevo Leon by a multiple (proportional representation) for the next legislature, which begins in September.
Guajardo is not the first high-ranking official in the Peña Nieto administration to be investigated by the current Mexican government.
Rosario Robles, a former Minister of Social Development, has been imprisoned in preventive detention since August 2019, accused of allowing the transfer of funds for 5,000 million pesos ($250 million) through public universities and shell companies in a conspiracy known as “No Quorum Master”.
Also under investigation is Emilio Lozoya, the former president of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the main implicated in the country’s Odebrecht bribery scheme.