Mexico’s chief North American trade negotiator has been cleared of allegations that he made improper use of travel allowances by flying to Hong Kong to visit family.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Jesús Seade traveled to Hong Kong five times between 2018 and 2020, apparently to visit his wife and other family members who live there.
But Seade, who charged the government more than 865,000 pesos (about US $42,000) for his travel, claimed that the trips were work-related.
The newspaper El Universal revealed last month that the Public Administration Ministry (SFP) was investigating the deputy minister for embezzlement and abuse of office after he allegedly lied in order to obtain funding for his trips to the Asian city.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry (SRE) said in a statement Friday that the investigation had finished and that it found insufficient evidence to conclude that Seade had acted improperly.
It said that investigations “didn’t find sufficient evidence” to demonstrate that it was “probable ” that the official had committed an offense.
Seade posted a link to the SRE statement to his Twitter account but didn’t personally comment on the accusations he faced.
Seade led Mexico’s negotiating team in the latter stages of discussions with the United States and Canada aimed at reaching a new North American trade pact. The USMCA, as the agreement is known, took effect July 1.
The deputy minister was nominated as a candidate for director-general of the World Trade Organization but was eliminated from the race during a voting round in September.
Source: El Universal (sp)