PRI party’s main campaign donor linked to spreading fake news

The main financier of the PRI party and political candidate Jose Antonio Meade has been linked to payments towards a scathing fake news campaign against rival, Ricardo Anaya.

Sergio Jesus Zaragoza Sicre, who ran the company which created the fake news, paid Google and Facebook 3,526,000 pesos (US$186,663) to promote the advertisements against the political rival in the previous electoral vote.

Jose Antonio Meade was the running candidate for the current PRI political party, which is soon to step aside for the Morena Party and the new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Ricardo Anaya, on the other hand, is part of the National Action Party and had remained the second favourite to win in the polls after Lopez Obrador. According to Animal Politico, Zaragoza Sicre is also a shareholder in Aldea Digital SAPI which was the leading party’s largest contributor of financial donations of the PRI during the previous election.

The most recent investigation, which was reported by PAN, is tied to a promoted video which is meant to show Ricardo Anaya involved with money laundering. It was back in July that the INE, in fact, chose not to provide penalties for the release of the news because they could not find connections between the company and a political party.

The new revelations form part of investigations by the National Electoral Institute (INE) into mishandlings in the most recent election process. It appears that the majority of parties were implicated in misdemeanours related to the July 2018 decision, and even the incoming Morena party was faced with considerable fines due to misconduct.

According to a report from the BBC, a fine was issued against the Morena party – who campaigned relentlessly to quash corruption in Mexico – because they did not declare where trust money was going. The investigated trust is believed to support victims of Mexico’s devastating earthquake and had raised a total of over 78.8 million Mexican pesos ($4.1m) however this counters Mexican laws where parties are banned from giving cash handouts to potential voters. According to sources who spoke to Reuters, the trust was named ‘For The Others’ and it has also since been revealed that the majority of money that went into the trust was in cash, although cheques and transfers also contributed to the total amount.

It is believed that investigations continue into mishandlings during the last election yet it is unclear if the new revelations will lead to fines against any of the parties.

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