By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Mexican Senator Xóchitl Gálvez, a member of the country’s conservative National Action Party (PAN) opposition, said Tuesday, Feb. 22, that a conflict-of-interest complaint she filed with the U.S. Security Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month had received the go-ahead to proceed with a financial audit of contracts between Mexico’s state-run Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) oil company and the U.S. supplier Baker Hughes.
The case revolves around the recent disclosure by the U.S.-based news portal Latinus of the fact that the eldest son of Mexico’s leftist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), had lived for a year with his wife in a million-dollar mansion in Houston, Texas, owned by a high-ranking executive of Baker Hughes, which has over $150 million in contracts with Pemex.
The supposed contract for the “rental” of the mansion was never filed with the appropriate Texas authorities, suggesting that the Baker Hughes executive did not collect rent from AMLO’s son, which makes the case even more dicey.
Speaking at the PAN offices Tuesday evening, Gálvez said that U.S. authorities will now investigate the complaint which she filed with the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming dirty dealings by Baker Hughes with Pemex in order to secure contracts.
“This is a valid complaint,” Gálvez said “We have presented all the evidence and attached documents.”
AMLO, whose constant claims of being “anti-corruption” have been severely eroded in recent months as more and more scandals involving his immediate family and close associates have come to light, has tried to distract attention from the Baker Hughes-Pemex scandal, instead verbally attacking and even fiscally threatening Carlos Loret de Mola, the head of Latinus, for daring to expose the matter.
AMLO even went so far earlier this week to have head of Baker Hughes claim that as a result of an “internal investigation,” the company had found that it had no conflict of interest regarding the house and the Pemex contracts.
Gálvez also said that she had filed a similar complaint with Mexico’s Federal Attorney General’s Office, which is headed by a close AMLO ally Alejandro Gertz Manero, but that the case will ultimately be resolved in U.S courts.