21 | NOV | 2019
“Populism in Latin America” series investigated for money laundering
The producer claimed López Obrador tried to prevent the screening of the series - Photo: Ginnette Riquelme/REUTERS

“Populism in Latin America” series investigated for money laundering

17/03/2019
13:51
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
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The law firm owned by the Berrueto brothers received MXN $186 million from OHL México in 2017 and 2018; as well as MXN $2.5 million in June 2017 from the State of Mexico

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Last week, Mexico’s government said it would investigate the funding of a TV series that was critical of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during his 2018 election bid on suspicion it received illicit support from his adversaries.

President López Obrador filed a lawsuit against companies linked to the PRI, Enrique Peña Nieto's government, and the government of the State of Mexico for money laundering.

Santiago Nieto, head of the Finance Ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit, said the government would investigate the funding of the series “Populism in Latin America” (Populismo en América Latina) that featured an episode dedicated to López Obrador.

Nieto said the documentary was part of a “dirty campaign” aimed at discrediting López Obrador during the election.

During the President's regular morning news conference, Nieto said the documentary got funding from a group whose backers included construction firm OHL Mexico, now known as Aleatica, and the government of the State of Mexico.

In a statement, Aleatica claims it “has no direct or indirect relation with the ‘dirty campaigns’ nor has it directly or indirectly financed any positive or negative communication efforts.”

Moreover, OHL Mexico was a successful contractor under Peña Nieto during his tenure as governor between 2005 and 2011.

The administration identified two companies, owned by Alejandro Jesús Quintero Íñiguez and his five siblings, named Grupo TV Promo SA de CV and TV Promo SA de CV, who was in charge of creating the documentary “Populism in Latin America”, which was released during the 2018 presidential race.

These companies are linked to the creation of TV spots and presidential messages linked to the previous federal government, the companies were also part of a Peña Nieto campaign in 2005, according to Santiago Nieto.

From April to July 2017, Grupo TV Promo SA de CV, earned MXN $47,900 million from Bufetes de Proyectos de Información y Análisis SA de CV, whose main shareholders are Federico Berrueto Pruneda and Ariel Berrueto Pruneda, who are linked to the PRI, according to Nieto, and who were in charge of a “dirty campaign” against the now President.

The companies owned by the Berrueto brothers have been reported for being a possible front companies, carrying out operations outside its transactional profile, and for being used to divert public resources from the Social Development Ministry during Peña Nieto's presidency.

Also, the law firm owned by the Berrueto brothers received MXN $186 million from OHL México in 2017 and 2018; as well as MXN $2.5 million in June 2017 from the State of Mexico, without any justification.

During the 2018 presidential race, Andrés Manuel López Obrador denounced that there was a “dirty campaign” against him through a series.

The series “Populism in Latin America” was produced by Javier García Mata and it deals with populism in the region. The 5 episodes analyzed Juan Francisco Perón, Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, Hugo Chávez, and López Obrador.

Back then, the producer claimed López Obrador tried to prevent the screening of the series, even though no TV station had picked up the project.

The investigation may raise questions about López Obrador’s repeated statements that he would not pursue his political adversaries once he was President, a position that has not gone down well with his supporters.

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