Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been saying for days that people need to see the recently released videos in which opposition politicians appear to be receiving bribes, scandalous acts, he has assured, that need to be clarified.
This Friday, however, it was his responsibility to clarify a new recording made public last night in which his brother Pío López Obrador appears receiving packages that would contain cash on three different occasions, all at the hand of David León, who has served as a federal official and already recognized the veracity of the videos.
The president, nicknamed AMLO, declared that it is not about corruption but about "contributions" from the people made in 2015, when he was campaigning for his party, Morena, in the state of Chiapas.
"Those resources were used for gasoline, to support those who worked in the organization of the movement" with deposits to a bank account, said López Obrador about the videos with his brother and León, which was released by the LatinUs news site.
"The people have financed us," he insisted.
[The president of Mexico says about the coronavirus: "I will put on a mask when there is no more corruption"]
AMLO added that the publication was made by "adversaries" who believe "their interests are affected" by his campaign promise two years ago to end corruption.
Just a few hours earlier, Mexico's attention was on the complaint by Emilio Lozoya, former director of Petróleos Mexicanos, who claims that three former presidents and a dozen other opposition politicians participated in an alleged bribery scheme.
In addition to these accusations by the former oil director, made in a leaked document without an official investigation involved, a video was recently uploaded to the YouTube social network in which former Senate officials appear next to suitcases with bundles of bills.
President López Obrador made reference to the situation around Lozoya and the case against Genaro García Luna, former Secretary of Security charged with drug trafficking in New York, to try to contrast what was seen with his brother.
"As very serious cases of corruption are being aired, such as the case of Mr. Lozoya who has implicated former presidents" and "the case of Mr. García Luna, accused in the United States [...] then our adversaries seek to equate things and say that they are all the same, but it is not like that, "said the president.
[García Luna case: the NY prosecutor's office reveals that there is a "network" of corrupt politicians around the former minister]
David León, who was until a few days ago the director of Civil Protection, was about to assume a new position to review medical acquisitions in the Ministry of Health, possibly including the future vaccine against the coronavirus.
On Thursday night León said that he will postpone starting that position as the situation is clarified, and argued that when the recordings were taken he was not a public servant but a consultant to the ex-governor of Chiapas and now senator Manuel Velasco.
Velasco is from an opposition party to Morena, but last year he declared himself an ally of AMLO.
It is not the first time that someone related to López Obrador has been caught on video receiving money . In 2004, when AMLO was head of the Government of Mexico City, a then collaborator and legislator from the capital of the same party, René Bejarano, was recorded accepting cash from a businessman.
Bejarano was outraged and investigated; He was in prison, but was later acquitted by the Attorney General's Office. López Obrador said then that it had been a plot to affect his image before 2006, the first time AMLO ran for president.
Recent videos have come to light shortly before the 2021 electoral period begins , in which the country's Chamber of Deputies will be renewed, half of the 32 governorships are at stake and new local congresses will be voted on.
[AMLO assumes the "challenge" of cleaning Pemex of corruption "without indebting the country"]
López Obrador assured this Friday that he considers that the videos published by LatinUs should be shared with the Attorney General's Office and that journalist Carlos Loret de Mola "must file a complaint."
“I have always emerged from slander unscathed and I have a clear conscience. He who owes nothing fears nothing , "AMLO sentenced.
The videos in detail
In the recordings published on Thursday there are several takes of Pío López Obrador with León.
One apparently occurred on Friday, June 26, 2015, at the home of the president's brother. In this one, León tells Pío López that he was giving him “one”, possibly a million pesos, while giving him a brown paper bag.
"This is for the issue of supporting them in the movement here," says León in the video. He and Pío López Obrador talk about a date they would agree on for another delivery, allegedly of money.
[Secret papers of the narco: bribes, kidnappings and murders under the shadow of impunity]
In another shot, on May 31, three weeks earlier, León and the president's brother appear in a restaurant where León puts a yellow package on the table and says: "Here I bring you 400."
On both occasions, Pío López Obrador collects the packages without opening them.
León and the president's brother talk about the destination of the resources, which Pío López Obrador says would be to strengthen the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) in the face of the 2018 elections, when AMLO was elected president.
It is not clear if any illegality was committed from what is seen in the videos. Private campaign donations are strictly regulated in Mexico, but at the time López Obrador was not a candidate for any public office.
[The epicenter of the horror is an oven: this is how they look for their children in an extermination camp in Los Zetas]
The figures mentioned by León and Pío López are lower than those reported in the case involving Lozoya, which exceed 10,000 million dollars that the former director of the state oil company would have received as bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht for the former president Enrique Peña grandson.
The allegations made by Lozoya in the document leaked this week point to the two predecessors of López Obrador in the presidency - Peña Nieto and Felipe Calderón - in addition to former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994) and two of AMLO's rivals in the 2018 elections, the former deputy Ricardo Anaya and José Antonio Meade, formerly Secretary of the Treasury and Foreign Relations.
With information from SinEmbargo, Efe and AP.