Angelica Rivera, the wife of President Enrique Peña Nieto, is using the $2.05m USD apartment in Key Biscayne, south of Miami Beach, with the apparent blessing of Grupo Pierdant, which is a contender to run Mexico’s ports.
The company has also paid the property tax on an additional Key Biscayne apartment bought by a holding company set up by Rivera.
The first couple’s perceived conflict of interest with the government’s contracting process landed like a bombshell in 2014, wrecking Peña Nieto’s popularity and reformist credentials and reviving long-standing concerns about corruption in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
The Guardian’s investigation into the Florida properties reveals an unorthodox relationship between the first lady and Grupo Pierdant, centered on Ocean Tower One, a gated community with a pool, tennis courts and white glove concierge in Key Biscayne, an affluent enclave in Miami-Dade County.
Rivera, a former telenovela star, bought a three-bedroom unit, number 304, in 2005. She revealed its existence publicly in November 2014 in the wake of the Casa Blanca controversy, which put her finances under scrutiny. Rivera said she had lived in the Florida apartment for one year with her daughters. It is currently worth around $3.5m USD, according to Zillow.
However, she made no mention of Grupo Pierdant nor the company’s founder, Ricardo Pierdant, who has extensive business interests in Mexico and the United States.
In 2009 Pierdant bought unit 404 in Ocean Tower One through a company, Biscayne Ocean Holdings, apparently set up for that purpose.
Since then he appears to have let the first lady use the property as an addition to her other apartment, in effect allowing them to be managed as a single unit.
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