(CNN Spanish) — The announcement made by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office that it began an investigation of Enrique Peña Nieto for alleged federal crimes opened the door to a series of questions about the future of the former Mexican president, who ruled the country from December 1, 2012 to December 30. November 2018.
The Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday that the investigation covers possible crimes such as money laundering and illegal transfers of resources on an international scale. An investigation that began, as indicated, based on complaints filed by the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.
In the same statement, the institution assures that in order to prosecute this case, evidence and expert opinions will be required, both from the treasury and the prosecutors.
Gabriel Reyes Orona, former prosecutor of Mexico, says that the public ministry will have to analyze and assess whether there are sufficient facts and elements in the investigation to formulate an accusation before a judge, who will determine whether or not the former president is subject to a judicial process.
In the statement, the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office does not clarify if it has already presented any of the cases it is investigating before a judge, nor has it reported when it will do so.
CNN has sought Peña Nieto and his legal representation to know his reaction to the Prosecutor’s announcement, but so far we have not received a response. Nevertheless, on july 7 The former president tweeted that he trusted that the authorities would allow him to clarify any questions about his assets and demonstrate its legality.
In relation to the complaint filed against me by the Financial Intelligence Unit, I am certain that before the competent authorities I will be allowed to clarify any question about my assets and …
– Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) July 7, 2022
Peña Nieto’s message was published on his social networks hours after the head of the FIU, Pablo Gómez, announced at a press conference that he had asked the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the former president for possible operations with resources of illicit origin.
“A scheme was detected where a former president obtained economic benefits, where it was observed that, through international transfers, he received 26,001,429 pesos with 74 cents of the national currency,” said Gómez. That amount is equivalent to US$1.3 million.
Gómez pointed out that these resources, which Peña Nieto allegedly began to receive on August 21, 2019, were allegedly transferred by a blood relative of the former official from an account in Mexico to Spain.
“Throughout these inquiries, former President Peña Nieto will have the opportunity to clarify the facts to prove the legality of his conduct,” says Reyes Orona, who assures that the Prosecutor’s Office should not have publicly revealed that it was launching an investigation against Peña Nieto so as not to affect the fundamental right of presumption of innocence.
“They started the other way around,” says the former prosecutor and adds that the Prosecutor’s Office began by establishing the crimes it intends to prosecute before obtaining the evidence that would allow it to be concluded that these alleged crimes were committed.
Finally, Reyes Orona points out, they would give the defendant the opportunity to clarify what is happening.
The Prosecutor’s statement does not state whether Peña Nieto or his legal representatives have been notified of the ongoing investigation.
“Crimes cannot be charged if there is no evidence, if the facts have not been assessed and without listening to the subject to whom they are charged,” says Reyes Orona.
In his usual morning conference this Wednesday, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, assured that he is not behind the investigations, but that he cannot tell the Prosecutor’s Office not to investigate.
“The processes that exist have to take their course, we cannot tell the prosecutor not to act or a dependency that has a folder on irregularities or possible irregularities: ‘Do not present anything.’ No, present it and let the authority resolve it,” said López Obrador, who added that “revenge is not my strong point.”