AMLO says the video of his brother taking cash that has gone viral on social networks is part of a smear campaign against him.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday a video showing one of his younger brothers receiving cash from a political operator was part of an ongoing campaign by his adversaries to discredit him.
In the video, released by Mexican news outlet Latinus, a man hands Martin Jesus Lopez Obrador an envelope stuffed with a large stack of bills, which a narrator says totaled 150,000 pesos ($7,500) and were part of a recurring set of payments.
“I think the intention is to do damage to me, or to try to damage me,” the president told a news conference.
“It’s the perennial black campaign of my adversaries. We’re used to this. But we have always emerged unscathed from slander.”
He said he would not cover up for anyone, and that authorities should investigate whether any crime had been committed, and punish any wrongdoing.
“But my conscience is clear,” added Lopez Obrador, who has built his reputation as an indefatigable scourge of corruption.
The man filmed giving his brother the cash was David Leon, who Lopez Obrador named head of Mexico’s civil protection agency on assuming the presidency in December 2018.
Leon stepped down from the government last August after a separate video was leaked of him handing over money in 2015 to another brother of Lopez Obrador. On that occasion, the president described the cash as contributions from supporters.
Leon said on Twitter that the money in the new video was a loan he had provided from his personal savings.
According to Latinus, the latest video was filmed in 2015 just before the elections in which Lopez Obrador’s newly registered political party, the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), was competing for the first time.
Lopez Obrador told the news conference the money was not for him or a political campaign, and that he understood it was a personal matter between the two men.
(Reporting by Dave GrahamEditing by Mark Heinrich and John Stonestreet)
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