Former governor of Nuevo León faces fraud charges
Dudley Althaus, reporter for The Wall Street Journal, has covered Mexico, Latin America and beyond for nearly three decades. On June 3, Althaus analyzed the current situation of Rodrigo Medina, former governor of the northern state of Nuevo León, who is facing fraud charges, in an uncommon scene in Mexican politics.
Prosecutors in Mexico’s northern industrial state of Nuevo Leon have accused former Gov. Rodrigo Medina, a member of Mexico’s ruling party, and 10 senior members of his administration of fraud involving some $200 million in land sales and other dealings.
The charges announced Friday June 3 largely revolve around the state’s purchase of ranch land that was given to Kia Motors Corp., as part of an incentive package to win construction of its second North American assembly plant. The Kia plant, located in the town of Pesquería near the state capital of Monterrey, began production in mid-May.
The company itself isn’t accused of any wrongdoing. Kia had no immediate comment, spokesman Victor Aleman said. Kia Motors de Mexico President Seong Bae Kim told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that the company feels the incentive package has been ensnarled in a local political fight.
“This isn’t a campaign against a group of officials, it’s about pointing out official conduct that must not occur,” said Ernesto Canales, a prominent Monterrey lawyer who has led the investigation at the behest of Gov. Jaime Rodriguez, a political independent who won office by a landslide a year ago. “We strive not to be instruments of a political campaign.”