Mexican President Backs Allegedly Corrupt Utility Official

Mexico’s president backed the head of the national electricity company, despite charges that he concealed some of his business dealings and made substantial, illicit profits, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Manuel Bartlett-1Manuel Bartlett, CEO of the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (Photo: MarioCerda25, CC BY-SA 3.0)President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated in a press conference that Manuel Bartlett, head of the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, CFE, was being unfairly targeted by opposition groups. 

“It’s evident he’s facing a campaign against him by adversaries,” Obrador said, as quoted in Reuters. “I am sure he will clarify all of this.”

Bartlett has stated that his wealth amounts to 51 million pesos (US$ 2.6 million) and that he receives an annual income of 11 million pesos ($ 561,000) but his actual wealth may amount to over 800 million pesos ($ 41 million) considering the value of his owned properties, according to an investigation by Mexican journalists Areli Quintero and Carlos Loret de Mola

In fact, the investigation states that Bartlett owns 25 properties, including 23 houses and two plots of land, but under false identities, or the names of family members and other companies.  

The Ministry of Public Administration opened an investigation against Bartlett earlier this month, to which Bartlett responded on Twitter

“As I said before, the information about the properties attributed to me is false; My financial statement is in order. The @ SFP_mx has opened an investigation and I will present all the documentation and information that is required of me.” 

Obrador chose Barlett for his most recent position, and has attacked investigators who have attempted to uncover financial misconduct, per Reuters. 

“I don’t trust the people who do these investigations because they’re not honest. There’s always an economic or political interest,” Obrador said.

The President has repeatedly announced his desire to rid Mexico of corruption, though the country remains a hotspot of widespread graft, according to GAN Integrity.