An electoral court in Mexico ruled Thursday that the attorney general’s office illegally used public funds to interfere in the country’s July 1 presidential campaign after the office released a surveillance video of opposition candidate Ricardo Anaya.
The attorney general’s office has been criticized for leaking details of investigations against opposition candidates, especially Anaya, who is running for a left-right coalition.
In February, the office released a surveillance video of the candidate and his lawyer in the lobby of the prosecutors’ office in which one of them can be heard swearing.
The electoral court ruled that the public release of that video was an invasion of Anaya’s privacy, a misuse of public funds and could influence the election.
The court referred the case to the assistant prosecutor for organized crime and the head of the press office to the attorney general’s internal affairs office.
Acting Attorney General Alberto Elias Beltran appeared to release the tape precisely because authorities wanted people to hear the swearing.
“There were insults against the employees of the Attorney General’s Office,” Beltran said later in explaining the video.
Anaya and the others seemed unaware they were being recorded. Taping lawyer-client meetings, or having people taped by a third party without their consent, is prohibited in Mexico.
Anaya has also complained about the office’s money-laundering probe focusing on an associate of Anaya who had questionable business dealings after he invested in a real estate project in which the candidate was involved. Anaya has said he had no responsibility for what others did with the money after the real estate was sold.
Anaya has claimed the entire investigation is a politically driven campaign by the government to discredit him and breathe life into the candidacy of the ruling party contender, Jose Antonio Meade.
In February, Anaya also complained after a federal intelligence agency sent a plainclothes agent to tail him in a vehicle.
Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete said that the agency, known as CISEN, had put a tail on Anaya solely for security reasons, and said authorities had thought he had been informed.
Anaya said he wasn’t informed of the tail and rejected it.