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Probe clears Mexican president in mansion scandal


president-enrique-pena-nietoMexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto and his finance minister have been cleared of conflict of interest charges after a six month investigation into their purchase of luxury homes from government contractors, the government said Friday.

Virgilio Andrade, the minister for public administration, said no conflict of interest was found to have existed because neither man was in office when they purchased the homes.

A scandal arose in November after a newspaper reported that the first lady, Angelica Rivera, bought a four million dollar mansion from a major government contractor months before Pena Nieto’s election in 2012.

It was later learned that Pena Nieto and Finance Minister Luis Videgaray had made similar purchases themselves.

In response to the outcry, Pena Nieto ordered Andrade to investigate whether the companies had benefitted from special treatment in the government contracts they had received.

Andrade concluded that terms of the contracts were not modified after Pena Nieto took office.

His investigation has been drawn skepticism, however: Andrade is a member of Pena Nieto’s cabinet, held positions in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and had acknowledged being a personal friend of Videgaray.

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