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Payment to the Mexican president’s brother raises hackles

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Video of a man giving a packet of cash to a brother of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had the president – who has made the fight against corruption his signature – on the defensive Friday and promised that there would be no coverup.

The photo, first reported by journalist Carlos Loret de Mola, shows David León handing over the equivalent of $ 7,500 to Martín Jesús López Obrador in 2015 – about three years before the president was elected.

León is heard saying in the video that cash was from “my savings”

; and said to the president’s brother, “I will note it,” to which Martín Jesús López Obrador replies, “No, comrade. We write it off.”

Léon, who served as head of the Federal Civil Defense Office in 2018 and 2019, later wrote on his Twitter account that “the said money was part of my personal savings and it was a loan.”

But the brother’s comment on the video suggested he might not intend to pay it back. It was not immediately clear whether it had or what the loan was intended for.

The president said he was told he was on a personal loan and said he had not seen Martin Jesús in several years.

López Obrador won the office in 2018 on his pledge to fight corruption and live strictly, something he has personally done, but questions have been raised about his family.

The report recalled yet another video from 2015 showing another of the president’s brothers, Pío López Obrador, receiving a bundle of cash from León. The video was released last year by the same journalist, Loret de Mola, who excavated this week’s video.

Shady economic conditions from Mexican presidents and their relatives have been behind the country for decades, but they almost always involve large amounts of money or property.

“If my brother has committed any crime, or anyone has committed it, I will not hide from them,” the president said Friday. “It is quite clear that if anyone commits a crime, whoever it is, they must be punished.”

López Obrador has long felt such revelations as part of a conspiracy by the media and “conservatives” against him.

López Obrador has claimed a degree of moral superiority, throwing the media every week in a contest he describes as “the lie of the week”.

Senators from the opposition National Action Party wrote in a statement that “López Obrador’s family is full of corrupt individuals who must stand before a judge but who enjoy impunity from the president.”

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