Regarding the alleged crime of illicit enrichment, a federal judge linked Ben Ildefonso Guajardo, Minister of Economy during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, to the proceedings, the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) reported.
According to the FGR, in the period from 2014 to 2018, “the former official may have obtained an unjustified increase in his assets”, in connection with the acquisition of artworks and various deposits in bank accounts, “which he could not prove to be a legal original.”
In response, Guajardo asserted that the aforementioned decision was “political persecution” carried out against him because he participated in the campaign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Nuevo Leon.
I don’t want to accuse anyone, but it smells like political persecution to me. Starting September 1, I will be a federal representative and say it loud and clear: I will do it in my role as an opponent,” says a message posted on his Twitter account.
He said the accusations related to the alleged illicit enrichment in the amount of nine million pesos, from deposits found by the Ministry of Public Services (SFP), which in an interview with journalist Carlos Loret de Mola confirmed already clarified.
Since 2019, the SFP has launched an investigation against Guajardo where it found alleged irregular deposits of 2.9 million pesos from 2014. However, the Supreme Audit Federation (ASF) revealed that the public office had been subjected to a series of irregularities in procedures and times, which did not comply with provisions of the bylaws of the SFP”.
In those investigations, Public Service also investigated the assets of other former foreign ministers from the previous administration, including Miguel Angel Osorio Chong and Rosario Robles, according to a 77GB audit of the public account 2019.
Who is Ildefonso Guajardo?
Ildefonso Guajardo was Enrique Peña Nieto’s chief economics officer, emerging to lead the team of Mexican officials who negotiated the treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada, the T-MEC.
Prior to that, from 2009 to 2012, he was a federal representative for the state of Nuevo Leon, an entity he has been a local representative for years. During the 2021 election process, he was registered by the PRI on its list of multi-member deputies to the legislature starting in September.
Although the National Electoral Institute has not handed out the multi-member delegations, expectations are that it will reach a seat in San Lazzaro.
For this reason, Guajardo reiterated that he trusted the impartiality of the federation’s judiciary to resolve his situation. “In fact, the judge who handled the case was very right to correct the page of the Attorney General’s office that wanted to block my protest as a deputy,” he says on Twitter.
Constitutional law specialists consulted by El Sol de México explained that although he is connected to the process, Ildefonso Guajardo can invoke as a federal deputy, because according to Article 38, the rights or privileges of citizens are suspended for only one ruling.
“I believe that although he is associated with the process, he is not deprived of his liberty and that means he can protest to take office and more than that he has not been sentenced to prove his guilt.
“On his side is the right to be presumed innocent,” said Francisco Bourgeois, a constitutional advocate for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAM).
“Yes you can take possession. Specialist Jose Pablo Abreu reiterated that there is no arrest warrant and no conviction, if there is no deprivation of liberty, you can seize it.
On this topic, Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas, National President of the Constitutional Revolutionary Party, confirmed that Guajardo would protest as a federal deputy, and expressed confidence that he would be acquitted of the charges brought to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
“We are confident that he will fully clarify any suspicion of the FGR and that the judge will clear him. We hope everything will be resolved positively.” With information from Sarah Uribe and Juan Luis Ramos