Controversial marriage ends Santiago Nieto’s legacy of Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit: is López Obrador losing a centerpiece?
A luxurious wedding celebrated last weekend in Guatemala ended with the appointment of the head of the Mexican Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), Santiago Nieto, one of the most important officials in the government of AndrÃ©s Manuel LÃ³pez Obrador in the fight against crime. organized by the prosecution of money laundering.
In a tweet published on Monday evening, Nieto reiterated his “loyalty” to President LÃ³pez Obrador and his love for his new wife Carla Humphrey, adviser to the National Electoral Institute (INE). In his message, the head of the FIU at the time clarified that he was submitting his resignation due to the “Criticism derived from acts of third parties linked to a personal and transparent event“.
Before the project could be affected, due to criticism from acts of third parties related to a personal and transparent event, I preferred to submit my resignation as the owner of the #UIF. My loyalty is to the president @lopezobrador_. my love for @C_Humphrey_J.
– Santiago Nieto (@SNietoCastillo) November 9, 2021
LÃ³pez Obrador has called everything about the marriage between Nieto and Humphrey, which took place last weekend at the Santo Domingo hotel in Antigua, “scandalous”. Beyond the luxury that surrounded the marital union, the controversy arose because the president of the newspaper El Universal, Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, hired a private plane to go to the wedding with his family and friends, including the Secretary of Tourism at the time. Mexico, Paola FÃ©lix.
Upon arrival in Guatemala City, customs officials arrested Ealy Ortiz’s assistant for failing to say she was traveling with $ 25,000 in cash, presumably to cover the medical expenses of the editor of the newspaper during a second stopover in the United States. In the midst of this controversy, the government of the Mexican capital announced the resignation of Paola FÃ©lix, alluding to the principles of “honesty and transparency” of “republican austerity” promoted by the LÃ³pez Obrador administration.
On Monday evening, as LÃ³pez Obrador disembarked in New York to refine his participation in the United Nations Security Council, Mexico’s Home Secretary AdÃ¡n Augusto LÃ³pez inaugurated former lawmaker Pablo GÃ³mez as head of the FIU replacing Nieto. .
The Financial Intelligence Unit, which has been part of Mexico’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit since its creation in 2004, has among its main objectives the detection and prevention of operations with resources of illicit origin (money laundering) and terrorist financing.
Nieto’s legacy at the CRF
Since December 1, 2018, the date of the start of LÃ³pez Obrador’s mandate, Santiago Nieto joined the team at the head of the CRF.
In his commission, Nieto coordinated with the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury for the blocking bank accounts of persons linked to the Jalisco Next Generation Cartel (CJNG) which operated from the port of Manzanillo, in the state of Colima.
In June 2020, Nieto’s office participated in the so-called Operation Blue Agave, which was coordinated by the US government. The FIU would have executed the blocking of the accounts of certain 1,478 people linked to the CJNG.
In September of this year, the FIU reported the bank freeze of 129 people in the State of Mexico that they are said to have links with dozens of criminal organizations, including the TlÃ¡huac Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, a cell of the BeltrÃ¡n Leyva brothers, the CJGN, Guerreros Unidos, La Familia Michoacana and La UniÃ³n Tepito, among others.
In addition to pursuing money laundering by criminal organizations, Nieto’s management at the FIU was characterized by continued embezzlement of public resources.
On July 18, the FIU reported that it had filed “a sixth additional complaint” against the former director of PetrÃ³leos Mexicanos (Pemex), Emilio Lozoya, and 11 other people and 33 companies for crimes of political corruption and misappropriation of public resources.
This criminal complaint was filed due to the fact that the office headed by Nieto identified âa money laundering system “within Pemex between 2012 and 2016. Companies linked to the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht allegedly participated in the network, allegedly, through resource triangulation, to use money for “”favor Mexican officials and possibly fund political campaigns“.
Who is Pablo GÃ³mez?
Despite Nieto’s results as head of the CRF, the luxury scandal of his marriage and the money stolen by a guest on a private plane led to his resignation.
The new director of the UIF is a professor of economics and was one of the leaders of the student movement in 1968. GÃ³mez is also one of the founders of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), a bench to which he was affiliated as a deputy (1997-2000) and as a senator (2006-2012).
Between September 1, 2018 and August 31, 2021, GÃ³mez was a member of the ruling Morena party in the Chamber of Deputies.
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