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Mexico's president says video of his brother taking cash is part of smear campaign

"My conscience is clear,” President López Obrador said, adding he understood it was a personal matter between his brother and the other man and not about him or his campaign.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at a ceremony to commemorate his victory in the 2018 presidential elections on July 1, 2021 in Mexico City.Hector Vivas / Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López 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 Martín Jesus López 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 López Obrador, who has built his reputation as an indefatigable scourge of corruption.

The man filmed giving his brother the cash was David León, who López Obrador named head of Mexico’s civil protection agency on assuming the presidency in December 2018.

León stepped down from the government last August after a separate video was leaked of him handing over money in 2015 to another brother of López Obrador. On that occasion, the president described the cash as contributions from supporters.

León 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 elections in which López Obrador’s newly registered political party, the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), was competing for the first time.

López 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.

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