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Chief Justice Zaldívar, left and the suspended judge Camero. Chief Justice Zaldívar, left and the suspended judge Camero.

Federal judge suspended over finances, including 80-million-peso deposit

The controversial Santa Lucía airport was among cases that Jorge Arturo Camero has heard

The Federal Judiciary Council (CJF) has suspended a federal judge over questionable financial dealings, which President López Obrador said included receiving an 80-million-peso bank deposit.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Zaldívar announced the suspension on Thursday but didn’t reveal the judge’s name.

However, judicial officials subsequently said the suspension applied to Jorge Arturo Camero Ocampo, a Mexico City administrative court judge and president of the National College of Magistrates.

“Stemming from the policy of zero tolerance of corruption, which I have been leading, the plenary of the federal judiciary decided yesterday [Wednesday] to suspend a judge of the first circuit due to serious inconsistencies in his financial situation,” Zaldívar said.

The chief justice said the decision was of the “greatest importance” because the judge was allegedly a key part of a network responsible for “improper conduct that won’t be tolerated in the federal judicial power.”

Zaldívar didn’t provide details about the “inconsistencies” detected in Camero’s finances but federal sources told the newspaper El Universal that one irregularity was the judge’s purchase of a home in the affluent Pedregal district of Mexico City.

Camero allegedly paid 17.8 million pesos (US $920,000) for the property, which was registered in the name of his son.

At his regular news conference on Friday, López Obrador told reporters that his understanding was that the judge’s suspension was related to an 80-million-peso (US $4.1-million) bank deposit.

He praised the decision made by the CJF, which has also launched an investigation into Camero’s financial dealings, but stressed the importance of the presumption of innocence.

“I’m pleased that the judicial power is acting to combat corruption but of course no one can be convicted without presenting proof, without carrying out a process as the law establishes. But this action – the removal of a judge for corruption, or alleged corruption – is unheard of, especially in recent times,” López Obrador said.

El Universal reported that Camero, as a member of a panel of judges at the 10th Collegiate Tribunal in Mexico City, has heard applications for injunctions against the Santa Lucía airport, one of the federal government’s largest infrastructure projects.

In June, the court’s judges ruled unanimously to grant a provisional suspension order that halted the project and ordered the previous government’s abandoned airport project to be left intact.

However, the same court ruled on Thursday to reject another application for an injunction against the airport.

Camero was one of the judges who heard the application because, according to sources who spoke with El Universal, he hadn’t yet been notified of his suspension.

The decision by the CJF to relieve Camero of his duties came a week after Supreme Court Justice Eduardo Medina Mora, who is under investigation for allegedly transferring more than 100 million pesos to foreign bank accounts, announced his resignation in a move that surprised his colleagues and political observers. The Senate approved the resignation on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Zaldívar said yesterday that the judiciary is cracking down on corruption and nepotism in courts across the country.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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