Mexico’s lower House of Deputies voted to open an investigation into accusations that Government Secretary Juan Camilo Mouriño improperly helped his family win contracts from the state oil monopoly Pemex. The accusations stem from contracts Mourino signed between 2000 and 2004 when he acted as the legal representative of his family’s company while also working as a lawmaker and then as deputy energy secretary. The move comes as President Felipe Calderon, who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, is seeking to further open Pemex to foreign investment.
The left-opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) first called for a probe, but walked out before the vote, saying the parameters of the investigation are too narrow. The PRD-led bloc wants the inquiry to include suspect contracts with the Federal Electricity Commission. PRD leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador called Mouriño a “trafficker in influence.” The probe will last two months and look into all contracts awarded by Pemex’s refining and gasoline units. (NYT, March 15; Bloomberg, March 13)
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