MEXICO CITY, July 8 (Reuters) – A Mexican news outlet broadcast video on Thursday of a brother of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador receiving stacks of cash several years ago, just ahead of a national vote in which the now-ruling party was competing in its first election.
The new video marks the second time that a brother of the president can be seen accepting large amounts of cash, several years before Lopez Obrador rode to a landslide presidential election victory in 2018 on a pledge to root out rampant corruption.
In the video released late on Thursday by Mexican news outlet Latinus, Martin Jesus Lopez Obrador can be seen receiving an envelope stuffed with a large stack of bills, which a narrator says totaled 150,000 pesos ($7,500) and were part of a recurring set of payments.
According to Latinus, the video was filmed in 2015 just ahead of elections in which the newly-formed Morena party of Lopez Obrador was competing in its first elections.
Latinus added that the cash was never reported to electoral authorities by Morena, and could amount to a campaign finance violation.
The man in the video giving the president’s younger brother the cash is David Leon, a political operative who served as an adviser to Lopez Obrador before heading Mexico’s civil protection agency. He gave up the government job last August.
Late on Thursday, Leon said on Twitter that the money in question was a loan he had provided from his personal savings.
The president’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Leon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Martin Jesus Lopez Obrador could not be immediately contacted for comment.
Leon was also filmed giving a different brother of Lopez Obrador – Pio Lopez Obrador – wads of cash in separate videos published by Latinus last year.
The president at the time said the cash came from legal contributions by his supporters and was used for the 2015 elections. He denied the payments amounted to corruption, but called on the attorney general’s office to investigate.
In response to the videos released last year, Leon said that from 2013 to 2018 he worked as a consultant “not a public servant,” adding that he supported Lopez Obrador’s political movement by “collecting funds among acquaintances in order to hold rallies and other activities.”
($1 = 19.9947 Mexican pesos)
Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Chizu Nomiyama
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