A video has surfaced showing one of President López Obrador’s brothers receiving a large amount of cash from a man who served in the current federal government.
News outlet Latinus published a video on Thursday that shows Martín Jesús López Obrador receiving 150,000 pesos (US $7,550 at today’s exchange rate) from David León, a former advisor to the president and ex-chief of the federal Civil Protection agency.
It’s the second time in less than a year that footage has emerged showing a brother of the president, commonly known as AMLO, receiving cash from León.
Latinus published two videos in August 2020 showing Pío López Obrador receiving a total of 1.4 million pesos.
León gave Martín Jesús the cash at his home in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, in 2015, according to Latinus, the same year he gave the money to Pío.
The exchanges, filmed by León on hidden cameras, reportedly occurred in the lead-up to the 2015 federal elections, the first elections contested by Morena, Mexico’s ruling party, which was founded by AMLO.
Latinus said that both Martín Jesús and Pío received “previously agreed amounts that are repeatedly monthly and which they say are for Andrés Manuel, which reveals a modus operandi.”
Martín Jesús says in the new video that the money was for his brother, but didn’t specify which one.
None of the money received by the two brothers was reported by Morena to the National Electoral Institute, Latinus said, adding that the failure to disclose the apparent political funding “qualifies as an electoral crime.”
León was an advisor to the Chiapas government and a close associate of then governor Manuel Velasco when he gave the money to the López Obrador brothers. He resigned from the federal government last year after the first two videos emerged and just before he was due to take on a new role at the helm of a state-owned medical supplies distribution company.
He said on Twitter late Thursday that the money he gave to Martín Jesús came from his personal savings and was a loan. He didn’t say what the loan was for.
The president, who has made combatting corruption the central goal of his administration, said Friday that he doesn’t cover up for anyone and that if his brother committed a crime he should be punished.
“If there is proof, he must be reported [to authorities]. All citizens have the responsibility to act and the relevant authority has to rule whether there’s a crime or not,” he said at his morning news conference.
Nevertheless, AMLO claimed that the publication of the latest video is part of a smear campaign against him and asserted that the exchange between Martín Jesús and David León was of a personal nature.
“It’s the perennial black campaign of my adversaries. We’re used to this. But we have always emerged unscathed from slander,” he said.
“… They make it seem that it’s campaign money, political money, money for me – something that’s not true, it’s as simple as that,” the president said.
He added that he has a calm conscience and that the smear campaign is a reaction to the transformation his government is carrying out in Mexico. “When they’re no longer attacking me, I’ll be worried,” AMLO said.
National Action Party senators said on their joint Twitter account that “the López Obrador family is full of corrupt people who should be seated in front of a judge, but they enjoy impunity granted to them by the president.”
Opposition lawmakers have also questioned the legality of a 1.77-million-peso government loan received by José Ramiro López Obrador, another of AMLO’s brothers, while a company owned by the president’s cousin, Felipa Guadalupe Obrador Olán, won four lucrative Pemex contracts in 2019 even though the state oil company ordered her to abstain from participating in its tendering processes.
“President López Obrador can no longer continue saying that his plumage is like those of birds crossing the swamp without getting stained,” Jesús Zambrano, national president of the Democratic Revolution Party – AMLO’s old party – said on Twitter.
“His plumage is already very stained by his own family. Why doesn’t he ask the Financial Intelligence Unit and the prosecutor’s offices to investigate his brother Martín López Obrador?”