Former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto investigated for money laundering, illicit enrichment 

By August 5, 2022

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) is investigating former President Enrique Peña Nieto for different federal offenses, including money laundering, illicit enrichment, and electoral crimes, according to an announcement it made on Tuesday.

The investigation into money laundering, illegal international money transfers, and illicit enrichment derive from complaints issued by financial authorities. 

In addition, the announcement cited different legal complaints regarding the relationship between Mr. Peña Nieto and the Spanish construction company OHL. 

While the press release does not go into details, OHL has been previously singled out for its alleged involvement in an infrastructure scam during Mr. Peña Nieto’s term as governor of the State of Mexico from 2005 to 2011. 

The fraud resulted in the embezzling of over USD $4 billion, with the Spanish transnational allegedly funneling millions in funds towards Mr. Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign in 2012. 

The different probes follow the findings of Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit, which on July 7 filed a legal complaint with the FGR after discovering unusual financial activity surrounding Mr. Peña Nieto and his family. 

These included money transfers amounting to USD $1.26 million, which were wired to the ex-president in Spain by a family relative in Mexico, and a “resource dispersion scheme” involving two companies commercially linked to the former president. 

Mr. Peña Nieto, who officially settled in Spain in 2022 thanks to a “golden visa,” a resident permit for high profile investors, has denied all accusations of illicit enrichment, saying all his holdings are legitimate.

“In connection with the complaint filed against me by the Financial Intelligence Unit, I am certain that before the competent authorities, I will be allowed to clarify any questions about my assets,” Mr. Peña Nieto said through his Twitter account. 

According to the Spanish media outlet El País, hours after the UIF’s announcement, Mr. Peña Nieto reportedly placed a property he owns in Madrid up for sale for over USD $650,000.

The current Mexican president and former political rival to Mr. Peña Nieto, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said on Wednesday that the investigation is carried out by the prosecution, restating that his administration has nothing to do with the inquiries.  

“I think we should look ahead and try not to repeat illegal acts and corruption. Justice is also about prevention (…) with the full weight and rigor of the law, we should be punished if we act illegally and corruptly, but we should not remain anchored,” said the president.