The same day that AMLO’s eldest son occupied the infamous “Casa Gris” in Houston, the Pemex office in that Texan city signed a contract with a subsidiary of Baker Hughes. In the following weeks it signed seven more, totaling at least eleven contracts in three years, equivalent to close to 600 million pesos.
New documents obtained by Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) contradict the version of the oil services company itself, which a year ago assured that its North American division, which was presided over by the owner of “La Casa Gris“, had had no business with Mexico.
On August 16, 2019, José Ramón López Beltrán and his wife Carolyn Adams occupied the so-called “La Casa Gris” and, on the same day, coincidentally, a Baker Hughes subsidiary in the US signed a contract with Pemex Procurement International (PPI) at its headquarters in Houston.
Between August 23 and October 23, 2019, PPI assigned two Baker Hughes subsidiaries seven other contracts that, together, totaled one million 94 thousand dollars.
In total, between 2019 and 2021, PPI signed in Houston with Baker Hughes and its affiliates at least eleven contracts.
The assignment and signing of the new contracts took place in the US during the days when the owner of the “Grey House” was Keith Schilling, who was serving as one of the presidents of Baker Hughes in Canada and, at the same time, as commercial and sales director in the Houston area, where PPI is headquartered.
In February of last year, after MCCI and Latinus published the report “La Casa Gris“, Baker Hughes denied that the division of his company in the United States -which Schilling had presided- had had business dealings with Pemex.
“Mexico is not included in the North American region for Baker Hughes. Internally, sales and operations in Mexico are organized within the separate entity called Latin and South America,” the company said in a statement released on February 21, 2022.
Bob Pérez, president of Baker Hughes in Mexico and Latin America, ruled out any conflict of interest due to the fact that one of its executives was the owner of the property inhabited by President López Obrador’s son.
“During his time at Baker Hughes, he (Schilling) worked under our North America group and, within Baker Hughes, Mexico is not under the North America group; Mexico is under our Latin America group,” he said at the time.
However, new documents obtained by MCCI contradict the company’s version. In a review of more than 200 files, it was found that Pemex Internacional not only assigned and signed contracts in 2019 with Baker Hughes’ North America division, but also did so in the following years.
The review identified that between 2019 and 2021, Pemex Procurement International signed in Houston with Baker Hughes and its subsidiaries at least 11 contracts for an amount exceeding $29 million dollars, which is equivalent to about 600 million pesos.
This information is partial, since Pemex has not agreed to disclose all of PPI’s contracts.
In the report “La Casa Gris” it was detailed that in the second half of 2019 and part of 2020, López Beltrán occupied a residence in an exclusive subdivision in Oak Estates, in the northern area of Houston, which had as a peculiar feature a 23-meter long pool.
The residence belonged to Schilling, a senior executive of Baker Hughes, a company that at that time had contracts in force with the Mexican Government for 66 million dollars, and that in the three months after the house was occupied, had more assignments for another 414 million dollars.
The case was reported to authorities in Mexico and the United States, and both the Government, the company and those involved then denied that there was a conflict of interest.
Baker Hughes denied that its North American division has had any business dealings with Mexico.
Following this denial, MCCI requested via transparency requests copies of the contracts assigned by PPI, the Pemex subsidiary registered in the United States, whose president is Carmelina Esquer, daughter of the President’s private secretary, Alejandro Esquer.
However, Carmelina Esquer -who also moved to Houston- concealed the PPI contracts.
MCCI filed an appeal for review of the denial and the Institute of Access to Information (INAI) ruled that there were no grounds to hide the contracts and ordered Pemex to provide a public version.
Pemex has partially complied with INAI’s order, since last October it has delivered in dribs and drabs copies of 200 contracts, out of more than 500 that it reported PPI has signed during the current six-year term.
Of the 200 contracts that have been made transparent, MCCI identified 11 that correspond to Baker Hughes affiliates, and 8 of them were granted between August and October 2019, the period in which the President’s eldest son lived in Schilling’s residence in Houston.
Five of the contracts awarded by Pemex Internacional in 2019, for the purchase of spare parts, supplies and repairs, were awarded in August and October 2019 to Dresser, LLC, a subsidiary of Baker Hughes.
One of the contracts with Dresser LLC was signed on August 16, 2019, the same day that the President’s daughter-in-law has said she rented the house in Houston at a price of 5 thousand 600 dollars per month, around 112 thousand pesos.