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Former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto paid $32 million for the Israeli-developed Pegasus spy program, Santiago Nieto Castillo, the head of Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), reported Wednesday, July 21.

Speaking during the morning press conference of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) in the National Palace, Nieto Castillo said that this software was purchased from the Tech Bull group in 2014 by Tomás Zerón de Lucio, then-director-in-chief of the Criminal Investigation Agency of the Attorney General’s Office.

“The Tech Bull group is a front company constituted by Balam Seguridad Privada,” Nieto Castillo said.

“It should be noted that the Tech Bull group contracted during 2014, with the Attorney General’s Office, particularly with lawyer Tomás Zerón de Lucio, chief director of the Criminal Investigation Agency, the Pegasus malware for the purpose of telephone espionage.”

Nieto Castillo went on to say that the contract was for $32 million and was developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, to which the resources were transferred.

He also said that Pegasus is not the first spyware purchased by Mexico.

“The first case dates back to the administration of (former President) Felipe Calderón and has to do with the hiring that (former Public Security Secretary) Genaro García Luna made of the Weinberg companies to be able to contract the Nice Track software,” he said.

“The contracts with the series of companies linked to the Tech Bull group and Balam Seguridad Privada go back in Mexico to the year 2012, also during the administration of Calderón.”

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