Head of Mexican Anti-Money Laundering Unit Replaced Amid Wedding Scandal

Head of Mexican Anti-Money Laundering Unit Replaced Amid Wedding Scandal

MEXICO CITY, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The head of Mexico’s financial intelligence unit (UIF) was replaced on Monday, the government said, days after large amounts of cash were found in the possession of guests on the way to his wedding in Guatemala.

Santiago Nieto, who since 2018 was in the role for UIF, which combats money laundering in Mexico, presented his resignation and would be replaced by Pablo Gomez Alvarez, a government statement said.

Nieto and Carla Humphrey, a counselor with Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE), held their wedding on Saturday in Antigua, Guatemala.

Guatemalan authorities seized $35,000 in cash from fellow wedding guest Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, president of prominent Mexican newspaper El Universal. A column in the paper on Monday said the money was for medical treatment and had been properly declared to Mexican officials.

The Secretary of Tourism for Mexico City, Paola Felix, also resigned following media reports that she was detained at a Guatemalan airport, reportedly on her way to the wedding, for trying to illegally carry a large amount of cash into the country. Felix denied the accusations.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the wedding as “scandalous.”

“It is a scandalous matter, even when it is a private event … public matters in Mexico are increasingly public and more is known about private matters,” Lopez Obrador told reporters on Monday.

Lopez Obrador has vowed to crack down on corruption since taking office in 2018.