Times have changed for Santiago Nieto, the former head of the federal government’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF).
On Wednesday, President López Obrador asked for his former anti-corruption czar to be investigated for — you guessed it, corruption.
The president’s request came after the newspaper Reforma reported that Nieto bought or acquired four properties and an Audi car worth a combined 40 million pesos (US $1.9 million) while UIF chief, a role for which he was paid a net monthly salary of just over 107,000 pesos (US $5,100).
The Reforma report was based on an anonymous illicit enrichment complaint sent to the federal Attorney General’s Office.
Asked about Nieto’s assets at his morning press conference, López Obrador said that an investigation must be conducted.
“He’s been saying that [he bought the properties] with loans, … but the Ministry of Public Administration can do the investigation, I don’t believe there’ll be any problem [with that],” he said.
“What must be clear is that we don’t cover up for anyone … because that was the mandate the people gave us – to put an end to corruption and impunity, whoever it is, even my sons, … there’s no tolerance [of corruption] for anyone,” López Obrador said.
While he requested a probe into Nieto’s property purchases, the president expressed skepticism about the report published by Reforma, which he derides as the epitome of the prensa fifí, or elitist press.
He expressed confidence in the honorability of the former UIF chief and charged that everything the newspaper publishes arouses his suspicion because it’s a bastion of conservatism with an axe to grind against his government.