Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Former health officials investigated for suspected tax fraud

The federal government is investigating former health officials who served in the administration of ex-president Enrique Peña Nieto for corruption, Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) chief Santiago Nieto said on Wednesday.

Nieto said that the UIF had detected government payments of 83 billion pesos (US $3.3 billion at today’s exchange rate) to pharmaceutical companies yet the same companies (he didn’t reveal how many) filed for losses with tax authorities.

“They presented tax losses for 416 million pesos, … we think that it’s a tax fraud scheme,” he said.

Nieto said that it appeared that some Health Ministry officials, especially those who worked on the now-defunct Seguro Popular healthcare program, were involved in an illegal contracting scheme.

Speaking at the National Palace in Mexico City, the UIF chief reminded reporters that the government has filed criminal complaints for corruption against several members of the Peña Nieto government including former cabinet minister Rosario Robles, currently imprisoned awaiting trial, and former Pemex chief Emilio Lozoya, who was arrested in February in Spain and remains in custody there.

“We also have complaints against [former communications and transportation minister Gerardo] Ruiz Esparza, he died but they’ll proceed against his inner circle … and obviously there is an investigation into [former social development minister] Luis Miranda for alleged acts of corruption,” Nieto said.

The newspaper El Universal reported last week that the Ministry of Public Administration is also conducting a probe into the financial transactions carried out by Peña Nieto, his ex-wife Angélica Rivera and his four children during the term of his government between 2012 and 2018. But President López Obrador denied that there was an investigation into his predecessor.

“There is no investigation open,” he said, adding that citizens might have asked the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the ex-president but “we haven’t formulated any complaint.”

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

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