08/28/14 (written by cmolzahn) — Deputies from different political parties in the Veracruz congress have moved to open an investigation into allegations of illegal money transfers between the former head of Mexico’s government workers’ benefits agency and fellow members of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN). Recordings were released in early August in which Miguel Ángel Yunes can be heard speaking with a former mayor from the PAN, Miguel Martínez Peñaloza, allegedly arranging an illicit money transfer of more than $7 million pesos (around $430,000 USD). Yunes led the Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE) during the Vicente Fox administration (2000-2006).
In one recording, made public by journalist Federico Arreola on SDPnoticias.com, Yunes and Guzmán can be heard agreeing on an exchange of “seven and a half in documents,” while in another Yunes can be heard speaking with PAN Deputy Joaquín Rosendo Guzmán Avilés, apparently arranging a $5 million-peso payment. The funds in question are believed to have been misappropriated from the Veracruz cities of Tantoyuca and Boca del Río. Representatives from four political parties joined to draft the complaint against Yunes and the alleged recipients of the illicit funds, particularly Deputy Ricardo Anaya Cortés of the PAN. Yunes Linares is the father of the current mayor of Boca del Rio, Miguel Ángel Yunes Márquez. Moreover, Guzmán Avilés is the brother of the current mayor of Tantoyuca.
The complaint will be filed with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR), as well as with the National Electoral Institute (Instituto Nacional Electoral, INE). Members of the Veracruz congress filing the complaint will also petition the state congress to compel the state auditor (Secretaría de Fiscalización) to determine whether public funds were used for partisan purposes and, if so, to see that necessary audits are carried out in the two municipalities in question.
For his part, Yunes held a press conference at the state congressional offices in which he dismissed the actions against him as partisan politics, saying that such attacks suggest that the PAN is on the right track in governing the state. Saying that he felt compelled to answer to the allegations because others are being affected, he insisted that the “documents” from the recordings do not refer to money, as alleged, but rather actual documents related to wage reform measures the PAN is working to implement. He added that he would take legal action against his accusers, on the grounds that they violated the law in disseminating recordings obtained illegally.