Carlos Ahumada has released a new book levying charges against former-President Carlos Salinas, former-President Vicente Fox, and former-Senator Diego Fernández de Cevallos. Amuhada is an Argentine-born businessman whose family moved to Mexico in his youth, and who was at the center of the 2006 “video scandals,” in which he allegedly attempted to corrupt Federal District officials from the center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) with tens of thousands of U.S. dollars in cash.
Some city and borough officials resigned from their posts after the release of the videos, which were initially made public by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party. The scandal was believed to have had negative implications for PRD presidential hopeful Andres Manuel López Obrador, who served as Mexico City mayor from 2003 to 2005. López Obrador’s formerpersonal secretary and close confidant René Bejarano was among those implicated in the affair.
For his part, Ahumada initially fled to Cuba, reportedly to avoid prosecution by Mexican authorities. Ahumada was later apprehended, brought back to Mexico, and prosecuted on charges of corruption. However, in May 2007, he was released from prison upon acquittal.
In May 2009, Amuhada released a tell-all book in which he alleges that the entire video scandal was masterminded by Carlos Salinas, who allegedly paid him 35 million pesos (approximately $3.2 million USD) for copies of the videos. Ahumada claims that Salinas —the “brains” behind the video scandal—informed him that then-President Fox and PAN Senator Fernández de Cevallos were complicit in the release of the videos, with the evident objective of hobbling the PRD in the lead up to the 2006 presidential elections. In exchange for the videos, Ahumada alleges that Salinas obtained amnesty from prosecution for his brother Raul, who was released from prison in June 2005. Ahumada alleges that Fernández de Cevallos served as the “coordinator” in releasing the videos.
Since Amuhada has a history checkered with multiple criminal charges for influence peddling, many viewed his charges with skepticism. However, an editorial by El Universal urged that his allegations be taken seriously, “because in this country his accusations are credible: manipulation of the judicial system against political adversaries, corruption of high level officials, governors who take money from public funds at the behest of former-presidents and other de facto powers in electoral contests.”
“Videoescándalos: ‘Salinas, el cerebro y Diego, el coordinador.” Proceso May 6, 2009.
“Cronología del caso Ahumada,” El Universal May 8, 2009.
“¿Le creemos a Ahumada?” El Universal