By Juan Montes / Wall Street Journal
New details about the controversial sale of a house to Finance Minister Luis Videgaray show the seller — a prominent government contractor — didn’t make a profit on the transaction, undermining Videgaray’s suggestion that the deal was done solely out of commercial interest.
Public property records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show that Juan Armando Hinojosa, the man at the center of influence-peddling allegations roiling the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, sold the property to Videgaray in October 2012 at the same price that Hinojosa’s small real-estate firm bought it 10 months earlier.
Government data show consumer prices rose 3.5 percent in the time between the two sales. Real-estate prices in the State of Mexico, where the house is located, also rose an average 3.5 percent.
The sale of the house in an exclusive golf resort outside the colonial town of Malinalco put Videgaray on the defensive. Although he hasn’t been accused of an illegal act, this and other property deals have fueled a scandal over alleged influence peddling and exposed the extensive links between politicians and businessmen from his home state.