In June of this year, Mexican President AndrĂ©s Manuel LĂłpez Obrador reported that the U.S. Government provided the Mexican Treasury Financial Intelligence Unit information on alleged million-dollar transfers from the United Kingdom to U.S. bank accounts belonging to Supreme Court Justice Eduardo Medina Mora.
At the time, AMLO ruled out Medina's corruption. "I don't have the information if the Financial Intelligence Office [UIF] has already filed the complaint. What I can tell you is that [UIF head] Santiago Nieto's instruction is that everything that comes to that office has to be with evidence," AMLO said.
On Thursday came the resignation of Medina Mora to the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, without specifying the reasons for his decision. His exit took place 11 years before the end of the 15-year term for which he was appointed during the PeĂ±a Nieto administration.
The Supreme Court awaits the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Medina Mora
In November 2018, one month before the end of PeĂ±a Nieto's term, Medina took over the news cycle after it was revealed that he had shielded former president PeĂ±a Nieto from any investigation or legal action against him. He also granted an injunction to the PRI -the former president's party- to not be implicated in Operation Sapphire, related to the triangulation of public funds to shell companies investigated by the Chihuahua state government.
Later, this judicial protection for PeĂ±a Nieto was without effect. But from then on, Medina was linked to the former president's inner circle as he sought at all costs to protect them from the incoming AMLO administration. Even this Thursday, the Justice prevented the governor of Nuevo LeĂłn, Jaime RodrĂguez CalderĂłn, from being sanctioned for using public officials to gather signatures in his favor when he was seeking to be an independent presidential candidate.
Medina Mora and former president Enrique PeĂ±a Nieto.
Medina's exit is now part of the power struggle between the Supreme Court and the government, where the block of justices who support president LĂłpez Obrador (Arturo ZaldĂvar and YasmĂn Esquivel, as representatives) have not been able green light the president's Remuneration Bill, because Justices Luis MarĂa Aguilar and Jorge Pardo Rebolledo reject it, with the support of Justice Alberto PĂ©rez DayĂˇn.
With the help of Justice Juan Luis GonzĂˇlez AlcĂˇntara CarrancĂˇ from the Court's First Chamber, the process of electing a new Justice could turn the tables in favor of the administration: 4 votes out of 11.
A new, friendly Justice would facilitate the argumentation for ZaldĂvar, Esquivel, and CarrancĂˇ, who have also want to approve AMLO's revocation of term proposal, the controversial Bonilla Law, the education reform, the amnesty law, among others.
To achieve the majority, adding two ministers against the actions of unconstitutionality of the legislative projects of the administration has its complications but expands the possibilities of a positive outcome for the government.
The role of the U.S. Treasury
Between recently convicted former Nayarit prosecutor Edgar Veytia and now former Supreme Court Justice Eduardo Medina Mora there is one common element: the U.S. Treasury Undersecretary of Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker. An official close to Steve Mnuchin who holds in her hands, at least until the end of the month, the investigation that Washington is conducting on former Justice Medina Mora.
According to diplomatic sources in Mexico, Mandelker was the one interested in the million-dollar transfers that Medina Mora made to American banks. Mandelker is in constant contact with the had of the UIF in Mexico, Santiago Nieto. Medina Mora's departure from the Court cannot be understood without the exchange between these two officials.
Despite not having a seat in Donald Trump's cabinet, she enjoys direct access to the West Wing: Mandelker was the one who designed the legal format to impose sanctions on Turkey, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran. In a government that has thrown itself into various conflicts around the world, that gives her a lot of power. Mandelker gave Trump a decisive tool between diplomacy and military confrontation: the preventive attack at the macroeconomic level.
In Mexico, Mandelker investigates the money route of various criminal organizations. Specifically, the insertion of illegal funds into the formal economy through various shell companies and businesses. The doubt that floats in the Mexican power circles is if Medina Mora's money transfers have any connection with criminal organizations.
U.S. Treasury Financial Intelligence Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker at a seminar on Iran
On Thursday El Universal revealed that the U.S. Treasury Department began his investigation into Medina Mora because, as a Supreme Court Justice, he could have revealed the names of undercover DEA and FBI agents working in Mexico.
That enigma is rooted in the highest levels of the Court, the decision to leave the toga he wore for only four years could have its origin in the threat of the U.S. Treasury Department that could apply sanctions against him. The worst scenario for Medina would be an arrest warrant with a subsequent extradition request to the U.S. This is the possibility that stirs up the thesis in the Court that Medina Mora resigned to go underground and avoid any kind of arrest.
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