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Mexico probes former president Pena Nieto for money laundering

MEXICO’s President Enrique Pena Nieto arrives in a traditional Philippine ‘barong’ shirt for a welcome dinner during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the capital city of Manila, Philippines, Nov. 18, 2015. — REUTERS/EDGAR SU

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s attorney general’s office is investigating former President Enrique Pena Nieto for alleged money laundering, illicit enrichment, and illegal international transfers, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

The sources said Mr. Pena Nieto, who was president from 2012 to 2016, is the person identified as “Enrique P” in a statement from the attorney general’s office (FGR) on Tuesday.

Reuters was not able to immediately contact Mr. Pena Nieto for comment. He previously denied any wrongdoing when reports of an investigation by Mexico’s anti-money laundering unit emerged last month.

Mr. Pena Nieto has not been charged with a crime.

The Tuesday statement said the FGR was “developing investigation procedures” into various federal crimes. In the statement, the FGR said it was investigating crimes related to Spanish construction company OHL.

OHL did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside business hours.

In 2016, the Mexican unit of OHL was fined over inadequacies in its financial reporting. The company said then that there was no evidence of fraud.

At the time, OHL Mexico had been hit by corruption allegations over leaked recordings in which its executives appeared to be discussing overcharging the government for a highway concession.

The FGR said the investigations into money laundering and illegal international transfers stemmed from complaints by tax authorities.

In July, Mexico’s anti-money laundering unit asked the FGR to investigate millions of dollars’ worth of money transfers abroad addressed to Mr. Pena Nieto.

Mr. Pena Nieto addressed the accusations in a series of tweets at the time, saying, “I am certain that before the competent authorities I will be allowed to clarify any question about my assets and demonstrate their legality.” — Reuters

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