AMLO’s Son Faces New Developments in Conflict of Interest Scandal
By KELIN DILLON
After attempting to distance himself from a multinational scandal surrounding his residency in a million-dollar mansion owned by an affiliate of Mexican state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in Houston, Texas, José Ramón López Beltrán, the son of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), revealed yet another conflict of the interest in the process of his self-defense, creating yet another layer to López Beltrán’s recent controversies.
In an attempt to justify his living situation, López Beltrán revealed his current employment status working for KEI Partners, an enterprise owned by the children of businessman Daniel Chávez, who has been a close ally to the López Obrador administration and was subsequently appointed as the supervisor of AMLO’s contentious tourism-centric pet-project, the Tren Maya.
As López Beltrán tried dissociating from his home’s ties to a senior executive of Baker Hughes, an oil company with close relations and contracts with Pemex, he instead brought forth concerns about his role working at a company of one of the closest business allies to his father’s federal government.
“It is a company of the children of Daniel Chávez, who helps me as an honorary supervisor of the Tren Maya, but he does not charge anything, nor do we have any business relationship. He does not have any business with the federal government,” said AMLO during his daily morning press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 15, in an attempt to defend his eldest son.
“There is no conflict of interest,” continued the Mexican executive. “He is one of the businessmen who helps us because he wants to support the case of the Tren Maya to finish it.”
However, upon further inspection, it was revealed that Chávez does play a more impactful role in the project’s development than AMLO let on. The Tren Maya is set to pass through land owned by Chávez’s extensive hotel empire, Grupo Vidanta. Likewise, Chávez was the financier behind the donation of a large piece of land in Sonora used for the construction of a mega-solar park, another major project spearheaded by the López Obrador government.
According to the sixth section of the third article of Mexico’s General Law of Administrative Responsibilities, conflict of interest is defined as “possible affectation of the impartial and objective performance of the functions of public servants due to personal, family or business interests,” an umbrella under which López Beltrán’s relationship with the Chávez seems to fall.
“The more they explain, the more they sink themselves,” said opposition National Action Party (PAN) Senator Xóchitl Gálvez as her party’s bench brought concerns surrounding López Beltrán’s repeated issues to the Chamber of Deputies. “This government urgently needs a course to understand what conflict of interest is.”