President López Obrador’s oldest son has denied any conflict of interest in relation to his family’s past and present living arrangements.
The news outlet Latinus and non-governmental organization Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) published a report in January that said José Ramón López Beltrán and his wife Carolyn Adams had rented a million-dollar home in Houston owned by Keith L. Schilling, a high-ranking executive with Baker Hughes, an oil sector company that has contracts with state oil company Pemex worth over US $150 million.
The report also said that López Beltrán and Adams now live in another Houston home that could be worth as much as $948,475.
That house, located in the northwest of Texas’ largest city, is registered in the name of Adams, a Brazilian-American woman who has worked in Mexico as a lobbyist for an energy company, the report said.
The revelations created a scandal for López Obrador due to the connection between his son’s former landlord and Pemex, and because López Beltrán’s apparently extravagant lifestyle is in sharp contrast to his father’s much vaunted ideals of austerity.
AMLO last week called on his 40-year-old son – a lawyer by profession – to disclose what he does for a living in the United States. “I hope José Ramón responds [to the report], he’s grown up now,” he said Friday.
“In a strict sense … it’s not about attacking my son Andrés about Rocío Chocolates, it’s not about attacking José Ramón because his wife rented a house in Houston supposedly linked to a company that works for Pemex … These attacks are not for my sons, they’re [directed] at me,” López Obrador told reporters at his morning press conference, describing the Latinus/MCCI report as a farce and declaring that there was no conflict of interest.
Two days later, López Beltrán said in a a statement posted online that he and his family had decided to move to the United States in 2018 and that he has worked since 2020 as a legal advisor for KEI Partners, a property development consultancy.
He said he obtained his U.S. work visa via the Houston-based company.
“I am a private citizen and I don’t have any interference in the government of Mexico. My income comes 100% from my work in Houston. There wasn’t nor will there be a conflict of interest. I ask you to respect my private life and that of my family,” López Beltrán wrote.
Carlos Loret de Mola, who collaborated on the investigation into AMLO’s son’s life in the U.S., took to Twitter on Monday to respond to the statement.
The company for which López Beltrán works, the journalist asserted, “created its website yesterday and belongs to the son of a businessman and advisor to AMLO to whom he entrusted the Maya Train. What a joke. What a scandal,” he wrote.
Adams released a much longer statement, saying that she and José Ramón – parents to a young son and Adams’ daughter – decided to leave Mexico to maintain their privacy and “not cause any kind of conflict of interest.”
She acknowledged she worked in the energy sector but denied any link to Baker Hughes or any of its executives.
“I rented a house for one year. José Ramón was still doing the paper work for his visa. … Here you have to use a real estate agent with a license and the parties (landlord and tenant) rarely meet. Everything was done formally, according to United States rules and requirements,” said Adams, who also posted extracts of WhatsApp conversations with the real estate agent who assisted her.
She said she took out a mortgage to buy her current home and the bank reviewed all the relevant details. Adams charged that her family has been “gravely exposed” and defamed by “endless fake news” – treatment she described as “unacceptable.”
“Everything that has been said and published about us in reference to any link to the company Baker Hughes is false,” Adams wrote.
She also said that her family’s safety has been placed at risk by an invasion of privacy. The purpose of the lies, Adams added, is to “damage third parties,” a veiled reference to her father-in-law.
“I hope that everyone who created this fake news finds peace in their hearts. God bless all of us,” she concluded.
Mexico News Daily