Mexico 1st Lady Uses Businessman’s Miami Home, Guardian Says

  • Rivera using apartment of potential govt. contractor: Guardian
  • First couple accused of conflict of interest in other homes

The wife of President Enrique Pena Nieto is using a Miami apartment owned by a contractor who was a contender to run ports in Mexico, the Guardian reported Tuesday, raising questions of conflict of interest after a previous scandal hit the president’s approval rating.

The first lady, Angelica Rivera, appears to be using the $2 million luxury home owned by the founder of Grupo Pierdant as an addition to her own neighboring apartment, according to the Guardian, which didn’t say how it obtained the information. In addition, the founder, through a separate company, paid property taxes on Rivera’s apartment, the newspaper states.

Pena Nieto’s spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said in a statement that Pierdant has no federal government contracts, nor is it competing for one, according to a statement published on Sanchez’s Twitter account. Bloomberg was unable to immediately locate Pierdant, and phone calls to Mexico-based companies with the Pierdant name weren’t answered.

This is the second time Rivera has come under scrutiny over property deals. The first incident arose in November 2014 when local media reported she had purchased a home in Mexico City from a government contractor. While she and her husband were cleared by a government investigation, she sold the house and the president’s approval rating has plunged to the lowest during his administration amid discontent over his response to corruption.

"This just kicks off what will be another difficult and trying period for the government in terms of its public image," said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

Pena Nieto’s approval rating fell to 29 percent, down from 56 percent shortly after he took office, according to a June survey by pollster Buendía & Laredo and the newspaper El Universal.

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