Irate Mexico president on defensive over mansion
Mexico's under-fire President Enrique Pena Nieto defended on Tuesday his wife's controversial purchase of a mansion owned by a government contractor, saying the former soap opera star would provide her own public explanation, AFP reports.
A visibly irate Pena Nieto lashed out at a report of a house purchase that has raised ethical questions about his administration, saying the information was full of "falsehoods."
"I will not allow this issue and finger-pointing to put in doubt the trust that the majority of Mexicans have put in me," Pena Nieto said in a speech in his native central State of Mexico.
The president said he has asked his wife, Angelica Rivera, to "personally clear up or clarify before Mexican society... how she acquired this property and how it was built."
Already facing a major crisis over the presumed massacre of 43 college students, Pena Nieto has come under scrutiny over the luxurious house valued at $7 million and located in a ritzy Mexico City neighborhood.
As Pena Nieto left on a six-day trip to China and Australia last week, the news website Aristegui Noticias reported that the property was owned by a firm linked to a Chinese-led consortium that recently won a lucrative bullet train contract.
The president abruptly revoked the train contract on November 6, just three days after it was awarded to the Chinese-Mexican group headed by the China Railway Construction Corp, which had been the sole bidder.
The government denies that the cancellation had anything to do with the report about the mansion, noting that his decision was taken before news of the house came to light.