A cabinet secretary in the Enrique Peña Nieto administration will be compelled to appear before a judge over corruption charges.
A judge granted a request Monday from the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) to bring criminal charges against Rosario Robles for the crime of abuse of public office. Robles served as social development secretary and agrarian development and urban planning secretary in the previous administration.
The crime she is accused of does not merit preventative custody, so she will be able to remain at liberty during her trial.
Robles is accused of involvement in a corruption scheme dubbed the “Master Fraud,” in which 3.4 billion pesos (US $178 million) from 11 federal agencies were diverted through shell companies and public universities in 2013 and 2014, when Robles was head of the Social Development Secretariat (Sedesol).
According to the federal Auditor’s Office (ASF), Sedesol directed 2.2 billion pesos to universities for services relating to an anti-hunger campaign that never materialized. The ASF has been investigating Robles since 2018, when Peña Nieto was still in office.
The “Master Fraud” was revealed in 2017 by the online newspaper Animal Político and Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity.
Robles’ lawyer, Julio Hernández, confirmed that his client will attend the August 8 hearing.
“She will show up with her head held high, and with dignity, to the hearing before the federal judge . . .” he said. “We will prove that this is an unjustified action.”
In a letter to the media, Robles said she was not notified that she had been subpoenaed, and that she found out about it through media reports.
“It’s a flagrant violation of my rights and of due process,” she wrote. “It’s inconceivable that this was released to the media and not to me. Through this whole process, I’ve never had the opportunity to defend myself, I’ve never been asked to testify before prosecutors and I’ve never had access to court documents.”
Before serving in the Peña Nieto cabinet, Robles served as mayor of Mexico City and as president of the Democratic Revolution Party.