Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto faced fresh questions on Wednesday about his dealings with a company at the center of a conflict-of-interest scandal, after it emerged that he enjoyed rent-free use of a house belonging to the firm as a campaign office.
Already under pressure over the government’s handling of the presumed massacre of 43 students abducted by corrupt police in southwestern Mexico in September, Pena Nieto is facing his most difficult period since taking office two years ago.
On Nov. 3, the government announced a Chinese-led consortium had won a no bid contract to build a $3.75 billion high-speed rail link in central Mexico.
Three days later, the government abruptly canceled the deal, just before a report by news site Aristegui Noticias showed that a subsidiary of Grupo Higa, a company that formed part of the consortium and had won various previous contracts, owned the luxury house of first lady Angelica Rivera.
Under public pressure, Rivera said she would give up the house. But neither she nor Pena Nieto have addressed the apparent conflict of interest stemming from the government’s business with Grupo Higa.