Former head of Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit, Santiago Nieto Castillo. Photo: La Política Online

By KELIN DILLON

On the heels of his scandal-ridden wedding in Guatemala, Santiago Nieto Castillo presented his resignation as the head of Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) on Monday, Nov. 8, after three years in the role, to be replaced by founding member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) Pablo Gómez Álvarez.

Nieto’s nuptials caught major flack in the public eye — including from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) — after one of his guests, daily newspaper El Universal’s Director Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, reportedly brought in $35,000 in undeclared cash on a private plane to Guatemala, where it was seized by the local authorities.

For his part, López Obrador said in his daily morning press conference on Monday that the weekend’s events would need to be fully investigated and the proper sanctions applied to any illicit activity.

“It is a scandalous matter. I think that public servants have to avoid these types of situations,” said AMLO at the time.

“The public servants involved must respond and, if there is a crime to prosecute, that action be taken, There can be no impunity for anyone.”

Following AMLO’s press conference, Ealy’s fellow private plane passenger Paola Félix, resigned from her role as Secretariat of Tourism of Mexico City, and 14 hours later, Nieto handed in his own resignation as the head of the FIU while still staunchly claiming his support López Obrador.

“My loyalty is with the president,” Nieto added to his resignation announcement on Twitter.

Now, Nieto will be replaced by ​​Pablo Gómez Álvarez, founder of the PRD and former human rights activist.

While having participated heavily in Mexico’s student movement of the 60s, Gómez Álvarez more recently served as a member of Congress under AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena), and lost the election just this past June for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies for Coyoacán.

 

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