For months, Mexicans have been clamoring for more details about Finance Minister Luis Videgaray’s purchase of a luxury house perched at the edge of a lush golf course a couple of hours outside of Mexico City.
Now, documents have been released suggesting that Videgaray completed his purchase of the vacation home after taking office in an unusual deal with a builder who has ties to the government.
Videgaray, a former investment banker, paid for the home with three works of art and a personal check dated Jan. 31, 2014. But the $500,000 check wasn’t cashed until almost a year later — just days before a news report was published questioning the minister’s dealings with the government contractor.
The revelations — included in thousands of documents released last week as part of a federal investigation into home purchases by the finance minister, the president and his wife that cleared them of wrongdoing — add to the political soap opera that has dominated the headlines for months and helped undermine public approval of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
“This doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Arturo Pueblita, a constitutional-law expert at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City. “This is completely irregular and generates a great amount of suspicion.”
IB Times – Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has reshuffled his cabinet, following declining approval ratings and several scandals, including the escape of infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a maximum security prison. Peña Nieto, who is midway through his six-year term, removed six ministers and shuffled another four to new positions.
AP – Left-hander Daniel Zaragoza gave up only three hits and doubled home a pair of runs Thursday, leading Mexicali Baja California, Mexico, to an 11-0 victory over Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and a berth in the International championship game at the Little League World Series. Mexicali will play Tokyo for the title Saturday. The winner will face the U.S. champion a day later for the World Series championship.
MLS Soccer – Interim Mexico manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti named his squad for El Tri’s upcoming friendlies against Trinidad & Tobago and Argentina, notably omitting LA Galaxy star Giovani dos Santos from the 23-man roster.
NBC – It’s a huge game between two huge rivals and CONCACAF is hoping to have an even 50-50 split of fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the USMNT’s crunch Confederations Cup playoff game against Mexico on Oct. 10.
EFE -Merida is the best city to live in Mexico, while Chilpancingo is the worst, a survey conducted by Gabinete de Comunicacion Estrategica says. Ciudad del Carmen, Acapulco andEcatepec, also ranked low.
Reuters – Countries backing a major accord to regulate the international arms industry on Thursday failed to agree on a definitive format for reporting arms sales, kicking the issue down the road and disappointing advocates of arms control.
Green Tech Media – Despite Mexico opening up its electric-power sector to private players, unclear rules are holding back installers and investors from tapping much of the country’s solar power potential.
WDET – A conservative business group is blasting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for saying he would place a big tax on the Ford Motor Company if it opens a new multi-billion dollar plant in Mexico.
Mexico’s hydrocarbons regulator has improved the terms for its September oil auction to drum up more interest among cash-strapped international oil firms reeling from falling prices, with industry analysts applauding the move Wednesday as a step in the right direction.
The National Hydrocarbons Commission approved a series of changes in both auction procedures and contract terms that reduce the risk to oil companies seeking to begin operations in Mexico following the nation’s energy opening to private and foreign firms.
The first oil block auction under the energy overhaul, held in July, was considered a failure because only two of 14 exploratory offshore blocks were awarded. Mexican officials promised to find ways to improve the terms for the second auction, which are for five groups of already discovered offshore fields.
Among the 14 companies that have qualified to bid in the next auction are major oil companies like Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell, national oil firms such as China’s Cnooc Limited, and Mexican upstarts Sierra Oil & Gas and Carso Oil & Gas.
Bloomberg – When oil collapsed to a six-year low this month, weak demand from China and extra barrels from Iran and Saudi Arabia were marked as the prime suspects. Another country, less central to global energy markets, had a big part to play: Mexico.
AP – Illegal logging has almost tripled in the monarch butterfly’s wintering grounds In central Mexico, reversing several years of steady improvements. Almost all of the loss occurred in just one rural hamlet in the state of Michoacan. A total of 52 acres (21 hectares) of forest were lost overall. That’s the highest figure since 2011, well above the 20 acres (8 hectares) lost a year earlier.
WSJ – Mexico’s trade deficit widened in July as a drop in crude-oil prices continued to weigh on petroleum exports while manufacturing exports grew at a modest pace from a year before. The country registered a trade deficit of $2.27 billion last month, bringing the accumulated shortfall in the first seven months of the year to $6.32 billion.
AP – Raids and arrests haven’t cooled the fascination of Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel with fine horses. A raid in Coahuila had netted nine quarter horses, and about one dozen trailers and trucks. In 2012, U.S. authorities cracked down on a Zetas scheme to take proceeds from drug sales in the United States and launder them by purchasing American quarter horses.
TeleSur-A number of human rights organizers and defenders say that forced disappearances are on the increase in Mexico. “Today we must say that (forced) disappearance occurs widely. In the past eight years we have documented more than 26,000 cases,” said Mario Patron of the Miguel Agustin Pro Human Rights Center.
CBS – Mexican environmental authorities loaded eight lions, two lynxes, a puma and a coyote aboard two military planes for a trip to a Colorado wildlife sanctuary on Wednesday, after the animals were found mistreated or abandoned.