Mexican president comes under pressure to detail his assets

Mexican President Nieto’s personal wealth gets severe criticism as he changes asset declaration that casts doubt on how he obtained one of his land properties near Mexico City

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Since President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico has released his annual asset declaration some questions have arisen about how he acquired a 1,000 square metres plot of land in the town of Valle de Bravo near the capital Mexico city.

The Mexican president made some updates in his annual asset declaration which he released on Sunday, but it caused some doubts about Nieto’s newly obtained 1,000 square metres of land that he has declared as a donation from his late father.

Nieto’s answer to the rumours has not satisfied Mexico’s opposition lawmakers from both left and right who immediately demanded the president to make a full declaration of his assets, which they believe worth to at least $3 million.

Nieto added notes to his asset declaration by explaining the purchased property together with other real estates with a size of 24,000 square metres plot of land, as being donation of his late father.

"The price was paid by my father, Enrique Pena del Mazo, who determined that the properties would be in my name, and it is for that reason that the same are declared as donations," the president’s note said.

However a public registry documents seen by Reuters indicated that the lands in question had been purchased by the president and there was no reference to Nieto’s father on the official paper.

An incorrect asset declaration constitutes a false statement to authorities which leads a definite constitutional violation in Mexico, according to lawyers consulted by Reuters.

Mexico’s Presidential spokesman Eduardo Sanchez told reporters there was no discrepancy in the asset declaration document released by Nieto’s office.

"In 1988, his father covered the purchase price, and put the property in his son's name," Sanchez said.

"It is a common practice within the legal framework in Mexico for a parent or tutor to buy a property and register it under the name of their descendent. That's why it is not on the public deed," he added.

Sanchez said he was unable to prove the aforementioned six real estates which were allegedly donated to the president by his parents since the public registry documents "don't necessarily record" that.

Under Mexico’s federal law, Nieto is not allowed to declare the inherited lands as a donation by his parents according to articles 7610 and 7620 of the Civil Code of the State of Mexico, the region consists of the town of Valle de Bravo.

The presidential aide Sanchez also replied that the president had only given the “required”  information to the issue, so no need of additional ones which were "not subject to public scrutiny" when he was asked to confirm the address of the property in Valle de Bravo, and the location of the other five donated properties.

The 48 years old Mexican President Nieto has been under public criticism as well as political pressure due to scandals related with properties that he, his wife Angelica Rivera and Finance Minister Luis Videgaray allegedly acquired from government contractors.

Meanwhile his presidency has long been suffering from drug cartels inside the decentralised federative state structure since he took office in 2012.

Nieto has pledged to fight drug cartels while taking office and the Mexican government has recently started “Operation Jalisco” to increase security in the state that plays a major role for country’s economic growth for which Nieto had also vowed before he was elected.


TRTWorld and agencies