By KELIN DILLON
Following an investigation by Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), financial records tracking the spending of controversial Attorney General (FGR) Alejandro Gertz Manero and recently disgraced former FIU head Santiago Nieto showed the two officials’ extravagant spending habits, doling out millions and millions of pesos for exotic cars, luxury properties and international bank transfers.
In the case of Gertz, the Mexican attorney general purportedly spent 109 million pesos (about $5 million) on cars, transfers, and cash and checks in just one year alone.
According to the FIU, between 2014 and 2015, Gertz’s “purchase of 122 luxury vehicles for 109,775,399 pesos was detected, consisting mostly of Mercedes-Benz and one Rolls-Royce that stands out.”
The car payments were reportedly made 75 percent by bank transfer, 21 percent by personal check, 3 percent in cash and 1 percent in credit cards.
Likewise, the FIU found that Gertz transferred 103 million euros to an account in Spain in 2013 and repeated shipments of more than 4 million pesos at a time to a Wells Fargo account under his daughter’s name said to be “credits for expenses” throughout 2014. Gertz apparently received $4 million from a Bank of America account and another $37,000-plus from the University of the Americas throughout this same time frame.
All in all, between 2013 and 2021, Gertz received nearly 40 million pesos in transfers to his personal accounts and cash withdrawals of 737,000 pesos from 2003 until now.
The FGR head reportedly declined to make a statement to the press on this issue.
On Nieto’s end, the FIU’s investigation into its former head found the official had acquired four properties and a car totaling in worth of 40 million pesos over the course of 25 months, all prompted by an anonymous tip on Thursday, Dec. 2, about Nieto’s supposed illegal enrichment.
Prior to his stint at the FIU, Nieto made little money as an attorney at the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes (Fepade). Once ascending to the FIU, the official had a net annual salary of only 107,358 pesos, leaving many questioning his ability to purchase more than 40 million pesos worth of property.
One such property – a $24 million peso house in Álvaro Obregón – Nieto claimed he bought with his wife under a mortgage to be paid off over the course of 20 years, though revealed little else about the other properties found by the FIU under his name.
This is not Nieto’s first financial controversy: The former FIU boss lost his post after reports of his extravagant wedding ceremony in Guatemala made headlines.