A federal amparo judge gave a period of 24 hours to the Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Electoral Crimes (FEDE) of the FGR to report on the case of Pío López Obrador for the alleged illicit financing of Morena’s campaigns.
Gabriel Fierro Susano, in charge of the Seventh District Court of Amparo in Criminal Matters in Mexico City, warned the General Legal Directorate in Matters of Electoral Crimes of the FGR to respond to the request, under penalty of its holder being sanctioned with a fine of 100 UMA in case of non-compliance.
The court requires the FEDE, headed by José Agustín Ortiz Pinchetti, to clarify whether or not it will prosecute the investigation folder FED/FEPADE-CDMX/0000380/2020 initiated against the president’s brother, which in August will be open for two years.
The deadline begins to run from the moment the FEDE is formally notified of the judge’s agreement. Authorities of the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to this media that, until before the close of this edition, the notification had not been received.
If the FEDE is notified on Thursday, its response deadline would expire on Friday.
Authorities of the Prosecutor’s Office pointed to Political Animal that it is expected that the inquiry will not be closed yet and will continue in integration.
The judicial agreement granted by Fierro Susano, dated July 19, outlines some clarity in a file whose progress, for almost two years, has remained in complete opacity, even for the National Electoral Institute (INE), which initiated its own investigation from its Technical Inspection Unit to investigate whether there were improper contributions to Morena campaigns.
Pío López Obrador: The video scandal
Pío López Obrador, brother of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was recorded in 2015 receiving cash from David León, then a collaborator of Manuel Velasco; and that in the end he would become National Coordinator of Civil Protection of the Obradorist government.
Following the dissemination of the video by Latinus, the FEDE received complaints for alleged illicit campaign financing and opened an investigation folder in August 2020.
Pío López Obrador initiated the amparo trial 159/2022 accusing inaction on the part of the Prosecutor’s Office for almost two years and demanding that it clarify what route he would follow in said investigation.
In a recent interview for Expansion, the president’s brother acknowledged having received money from David León, but minimized the fact arguing that it was a “support” for “minor expenses, such as gasoline”, which, however small, should have been reported in Morena’s accounting to the INE Audit System.
As part of the amparo trial, the FEDE initially reported that, on June 30, 2022, the investigation folder against Pío Obrador was “definitively determined”, but, in principle, it did not specify in what sense the determination was, and also warned that said decision was being reviewed by the General Legal Directorate in Matters of Electoral Crimes. That ambiguity was now controversial by the federal court.
“The General Legal Directorate on Electoral Crimes is required to report, within a period of twenty-four hours, counted from the next business day on which it receives notification of this document, whether it authorized, modified or revoked the determination of June thirty, 2022, issued within the fed/FEPADE/FEPADE-CDMX/0000380/2020 investigation,” says the court settlement, to which he had access Political Animal.
Pio’s defense accuses irregularities
Pablo Hernández Romo-Valencia, Pío López Obrador’s lawyer, argued that the lack of clarity of the FEDE’s actions in the investigation against his client violates his rights and is contrary to the law.
In an interview, he said that the irregularity would not only merit a financial fine, but, in the future, a possible dismissal and criminal complaints against officials of the Prosecutor’s Office.
“It’s kind of irregular. In fact, the judge himself had already said that there was omission on the part of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. (…) Not only a fine is appropriate, but also the conduct of the MP is adapted to one of the crimes provided for in the Amparo Law, “he warned.
The lawyer explained that if the FEDE disregards the agreement, what is appropriate is to send the file to a collegiate court to review the case, and then, if they consider that it has not really been complied with, the issue escalates to the Supreme Court of Justice and the public servant or servants who have not complied with the determination are dismissed.
The lack of response and clarity on the part of the Prosecutor’s Office alsoThis has had an impact on the investigations of the INE, which has repeatedly accused that the ministerial authority has blocked it from accessing essential information on the grounds of “ministerial secrecy”, that is, that its inquiries are ongoing and that, in addition, the electoral arbitrator does not have the status of interested party in the investigation folder.
In February, the federal Electoral Tribunal ordered the FGR to hand over the information requested by the INE, but the Prosecutor’s Office filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Justice, which granted it a suspension against the decision of the electoral magistrates.
For Pío López’s lawyer, the INE does not have access to the investigation against his client.
“The INE is asking for something that is illegal, just like the TEPJF. The Constitution states that investigations are secret and no one can go above the Constitution, whoever it may be. Either they respect that or they are going to commit crimes typified in the Federal Criminal Code,” Hernández Romo-Valencia said in an interview.
However, the INE has pointed out that “ministerial secrecy” is not applicable to it when it acts in the exercise of its constitutional powers of supervision, according to a jurisprudence of the TEPJF.
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