Biden officials play down report of US investigation into Mexican president

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According to a New York Times report, US officials investigated claims that Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, had allies who received money from drug cartels, but they downplayed the report.

López Obrador denied the report and also exposed the phone number of Natalie Kitroeff, the journalist who wrote it for the New York Times in Mexico. This prompted Mexico’s transparency agency (INAI) to announce an investigation.

“The president mentioned the investigation by the international newspaper and read the reporter’s phone number to everyone,” the INAI statement said.

“There is no investigation into President Lopez Obrador,” a US justice department spokesperson told the New York Post. The White House national security council spokesman, John Kirby, agreed and said the department “reviews any allegation”.

The New York Times report said the US investigation found evidence of possible links between drug cartels and “people close to the president”.

The US agencies did not formally investigate López Obrador, also known as AMLO, because the US government “did not want to pursue allegations against one of its main allies,” the paper said.

The Mexico president called the allegations “totally false”. He said the inquiry would not affect Mexico’s ties with the US, but he expected an answer from Washington.

The New York Times report came after InSight Crime, ProPublica and Deutsche Welle published articles last month about another US-led investigation into financial ties between the Sinaloa cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and a close aide to López Obrador during his failed 2006 presidential bid.

ProPublica said the case raised “hard questions about how far the United States should go to fight the official corruption that has helped Mexican drug traffickers become a global criminal power”.

Source: The Guardian