President López Obrador’s former legal counsel has accused Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero and four other high-ranking law enforcement officials of influence peddling, criminal association and collusion.
Julio Scherer Ibarra, who left his advisory position last year, filed a criminal complaint late last week against Gertz and four of his colleagues at the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR).
In his complaint, which he filed with the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Scherer said he was obliged to report the officials because they had committed acts that “probably” constituted crimes. He accused Gertz and the other officials of making “factious use” of the FGR for “perverse personal interests,” claiming that they have opened investigations against companies and individuals to take revenge against “enemies” of the attorney general.
The lawyer said he has also been a victim of their allegedly improper conduct. The FGR initiated an investigation after he was accused of extortion, money laundering, criminal association and influence peddling by Juan Collado, a lawyer for former president Enrique Peña Nieto who is currently in prison on money laundering and organized crime charges.
The president’s former legal counsel, described by López Obrador as “like his brother”, claimed in March that former interior minister Olga Sánchez and Gertz put together a “perverse trap” to implicate him in an extortion scheme. He also claimed that both were “traitors” to the 4T, or Fourth Transformation – the federal government’ self-anointed nickname.
Scherer partially supported his criminal complaint by citing the imprisonment of Alejandra Cuevas, the daughter of the wife of Gertz’s deceased brother. Cuevas was held in preventative custody for over 500 days on charges of “homicide by omission” for allegedly failing to provide adequate medical care to the attorney general’s brother, who died in 2015 at the age of 82.
The Supreme Court ordered her release late last month and also dropped the case against her nonagenarian mother, Laura Morán, who was accused of the same crime. Leaked recordings of telephone conversations Gertz had with his colleague Juan Ramos López – one of the four other FGR officials accused by Scherer – appeared to reveal the attorney general had interfered in the case.
Scherer also raised questions about the FGR’s investigations against Santiago Nieto, the former chief of the federal government’s Financial Intelligence Unit, who was accused of illicit enrichment, and 31 scientists and researchers, who were accused of corruption.
“Today the enemies of the head of the federal Attorney General’s Office are the sole targets of justice – his justice,” his complaint said.
“Proof of that are the various investigations (fabrications), prosecutions and inquiries that he has initiated against his in-laws, scientists, people related to the Puebla University of the Americas, women, companies, businesspeople and other people unconnected to his vision or interests.”
In addition, Scherer accused Gertz of using his position to help his “old client and partner” Gabriel Alarcón Velázquez, who was accused of defrauding his own family, and giving preferential treatment to former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya, who has been in prison on corruption charges since November.
“The conduct of … Gertz Manero is not new: he has remained in the public memory and in the memories of witnesses and victims as a conveniently biased, eminently vengeful and poisonous man,” he said.
“The territory of the federal Attorney General’s Office is today swampy. Discredited and exposed, the head of the agency, assisted by officials servile to the interests of their boss, decided to betray his historic role as the republic’s first autonomous attorney general,” the complaint said.