The brother of President López Obrador has filed a complaint against a journalist who presented two videos in which he is seen receiving large amounts of cash in 2015.
Journalist Carlos Loret de Mola said that Pío López Obrador filed a complaint with the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) on October 2 in which he describes himself as a victim and lodges a request for the person who disseminated the videos to be fined and jailed for up to 12 years.
In the footage – presented by Loret de Mola in August on his program on the news portal Latinus – the president’s brother is seen receiving a total of 1.4 million pesos from David León, a former consultant to the Chiapas government who became Civil Protection chief in the current federal government.
Loret de Mola claims that the footage serves as evidence of corruption but President López Obrador has denied the accusation, saying the day after the videos came to light that the payments his brother received were “contributions” from ordinary people who support Morena, the political party he founded.
In an opinion column published in The Washington Post on Sunday, Loret de Mola wrote that although the conversations between Pío López Obrador and León in the two videos “don’t establish it explicitly, it’s suspected that the money arrived from then Chiapas governor –now [federal] senator – Manuel Velasco, with whom David León has been an extremely close operator.”
In the complaint he filed with the FGR, Pío López Obrador “sought to attack” him, the journalist wrote.
“[He] speaks of the dissemination of his videos as ‘acts presumably constituting crimes committed against him and his family,’” Loret de Mola wrote.
“He asks to be recognized as an assistant of the Attorney General’s Office and for an investigation into the matter to be opened.”
Loret de Mola said that Pío López Obrador argued in his complaint that his right to privacy was violated by the publication of the videos, which were apparently filmed by León.
“All reserved or secret information is protected by our legal system,” the president’s brother said, according to Loret de Mola.
“The various conversations I held with David León Romero were of a reserved nature and are therefore protected by the human right to privacy. … There are certain provisions of law for that reason. Every human has [the right to] privacy and that must be respected. Based on the aforementioned, the dissemination of the conversations is completely illegal.”
Loreta de Mola said that Pío López Obrador’s request that he be jailed for 12 years represents a further escalation of the federal government’s “permanent aggression” against critical sections of the media.
AMLO, as the president is widely known, has insulted his critics on a daily basis at his morning news conferences, pressured owners of news outlets and used public funds to buy positive coverage, the journalist charged.
Loret de Mola also accused the federal government, including the supposedly autonomous Attorney General’s Office, of providing “shelter” to Pío López Obrador and encouraging him to make the complaint against him.
The “illegal acts” shown in the videos are of “public interest” and their publication has “journalistic value,” he wrote before concluding that he will fight the claims against him.
One supporter of the journalist is National Action Party Senator Lilly Téllez.
“My support for and solidarity with Carlos Loret in the face of abuse of power of the [federal government] regime,” she wrote on Twitter.
“That’s how Venezuela began,” Téllez added, apparently referring to the Venezuelan government’s jailing of critics and political opponents.