Posts Tagged ‘Luis Videgaray’

Tollway Scandal Couldn’t Come at Worse Time for Mexican Builders

| May 12th, 2015 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Benjamin Bain

Recordings appearing to show OHL Mexico SAB executives’ efforts to increase highway tolls and pay for a state official’s beach-hotel room threaten to disrupt a construction industry already hurt by budget cuts and a scandal involving President Enrique Pena Nieto’s wife.

The toll-road operator’s shares have tumbled 20 percent in the past week as the State of Mexico government disclosed plans to investigate the allegations, contained in a pair of videos posted on the Internet. While Mexico City-based OHL Mexico has denied wrongdoing, its chairman acknowledged last week that executives offered to pay for the Caribbean luxury hotel before the invitation was rejected by the official.

The controversy comes on the heels of a $4.3 billion high-speed train project that was suspended in January after reports emerged that one of the winning bidders built a luxury home for the president’s wife. She and Pena ... Read More

Oil’s slump a blow to Mexico amid touted energy reforms

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY PETER ORSI

MEXICO CITY — The lowest oil prices in nearly six years couldn’t have come at a worse time for Mexico, which last year opened up oil-sector investment to private companies for the first time in decades.

The landmark energy reform aimed to boost revenue by enabling Mexico to tap undeveloped fields and adopt newer technology to reverse a decadelong slide in production.

Instead, the drop in oil prices has forced Mexico’s government to slash $8.4 billion from its 2015 budget, with most of the cutbacks expected to come in the energy sector. Analysts predict the energy partnerships made possible by the reform will attract initial bids lower than anticipated, some exploration projects will be delayed, and state oil company Pemex will see a cash crunch and slow job growth.

“If we continue for the next year in the scenario that we’re ... Read More

Mexico urged to rebuild public’s trust

| February 17th, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Jude Webber and John Paul Rathbone in Mexico City

Mexico’s ambitious reform programme will count for little if the scandal-tainted government of President Enrique Peña Nieto fails to rebuild shattered public confidence.

The unusually candid assessment comes from Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s finance minister, who, like the president, has been at the centre of an outcry over embarrassing house purchases from a prominent government contractor that have fuelled allegations of crony capitalism.

Mr Peña Nieto has pushed through a host of “wonderful” and transformative economic reforms, including the liberalisation of an oil sector closed to private investment for nearly 80 years. Yet Mr Videgaray said these should not be the only priorities for a government still facing nearly four more years in office.

“It is not just about reform, reform, reform,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “We need to address what is really important today for Mexican society, which is not [just] ... Read More

Oil’s slump a blow to Mexico amid touted energy reforms

| February 11th, 2015 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By PETER ORSI

MEXICO CITY (AP) – The lowest oil prices in nearly six years couldn’t have come at a worse time for Mexico, which last year opened up oil-sector investment to private companies for the first time in decades.

The landmark energy reform aimed to boost revenue by enabling Mexico to tap undeveloped fields and adopt newer technology to reverse a decade-long slide in production.

Instead, the drop in oil prices has forced Mexico’s government to slash $8.4 billion from its 2015 budget, with most of the cutbacks expected to come in the energy sector. Analysts predict the energy partnerships made possible by the reform will attract initial bids lower than anticipated, some exploration projects will be delayed, and state oil company Pemex will see a cash crunch and slow job growth.

“If we continue for the next year in the scenario that we’re currently ... Read More

Mexico’s Peña Nieto vows transparency but appoints an ally to investigate him

| February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

Nearly three months after allegations of conflicts of interest first were leveled at his administration, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Tuesday a package of measures designed to fight rampant corruption in the country.

The Mexican president vowed more transparency, appointing Virgilio Andrade Martínez, the new secretary of public administration, to investigate the acquisition of luxury houses by himself, his wife Angélica Rivera and finance secretary Luis Videgaray.

The appointment of Andrade Martínez raised eyebrows among political observers in Mexico. A former representative of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who heads the organization that runs Mexico’s elections, is seen as compromised as an investigator because of his close ties to the administration.

“He’s a man with no expertise in the matter. He doesn’t know anything about anti-corruption policies,” Irma Sandoval, a Mexican academic and professor who focuses on democracy and corruption matters, told Fox News Latino.

... Read More

Corruption in Mexico

| February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »
The Economist

It is not every day that a president launches an investigation into his own affairs, but that is what Mexico’s leader, Enrique Peña Nieto, has just done. On February 3rd he announced that he, his wife and his finance minister will become the first subjects of a conflict-of-interest investigation. This startling decision was part of a package of anti-corruption measures that Mr Peña hopes will re-establish his credibility and popularity, which has been battered by scandal and public anger over crime.

To succeed, Mr Peña must first of all establish that he is blameless in a scandal triggered by revelations that he, his wife, and Luis Videgaray, the finance minister, bought houses on credit from affiliates of a building firm that has benefited from government contracts. All declare that they have done nothing wrong, though Mr Videgaray received a mortgage at below market rates. Now Mr Peña has ... Read More

Mexico’s President Calls for Investigation of Ties with Contractors

| February 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By JUAN MONTES

MEXICO CITY—Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called Tuesday for the government’s watchdog agency to investigate whether there was any conflict of interest in federal government works awarded to contractors that sold homes to the first lady, the finance minister and to the president himself.

In public remarks about the real-estate scandals affecting his government, Mr. Peña Nieto reiterated that there was nothing illegal or improper in the purchases made from government contractors. But he acknowledged that revelations have generated doubts about the honesty of his government.

“I’m aware that these indications generated the appearance of something improper,” said Mr. Peña Nieto in a public statement at the presidential residence. He said a panel of independent experts would review the results of the investigation made by the Ministry of the Public Service, which oversees the actions of public officials.

The government has been roiled by conflict of interest allegations for months since it emerged that the president, his ... Read More

Mexico Leader Under New Scrutiny

| January 21st, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By JUAN MONTES

IXTAPAN DE LA SAL, Mexico—A few weeks after taking office as governor of the State of Mexico in late 2005, President Enrique Peña Nieto purchased a property in an exclusive golf club from a businessman who helped transform this sleepy town into a popular resort known for its Roman-style thermal baths.

Roberto San Román Widerkehr, the seller of the weekend residence and developer of an exclusive golf club here, also founded a local construction firm which went on to win more than $100 million in public-works contracts during Mr. Peña Nieto’s time as governor from 2005 to 2011, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Since Mr. Peña Nieto became president in 2012, Mr. San Román’s firm has won at least 11 federal contracts, government records show, becoming a national player with business in several states. Before Mr. Peña Nieto came to power, the company had never won a ... Read More

Mexico in Crisis

| December 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article appeared in The Weekly Standard

BY JAIME DAREMBLUM

The fiesta is over. Mexico, a remarkably important nation of some 120 million people—indeed, the world’s fifteenth largest economy—is descending into crisis. Students have been slaughtered en masse with the complicity of a corrupt police force. The country’s young president and his finance minster are embroiled in a corruption scandal. And the recent fall in oil prices—which looks set to continue—only portends further suffering.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When 48-year-old Enrique Peña Nieto was elected Mexican president in 2012, his country’s future looked bright. A self-styled reformer, the leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and former governor of Mexico State moved immediately to implement his Pact for Mexico, which called for the achievement of some 95 goals over his six-year term.

Peña Nieto enjoyed remarkable success over his first two years in office. He liberalized the country’s telecommunications market, greatly weakening the monopoly of billionaire (and New York Timessavior) Carlos Slim. Ditto for ... Read More

Mexico Finance Minister Bought House From Government Contractor

| December 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By JUAN MONTES

MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s finance minister bought a home from a prominent government contractor who is at the center of influence-peddling allegations roiling President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s administration, documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal show.

Property records show that the minister, Luis Videgaray, widely seen as the driving force behind Mexico’s recent economic overhauls, bought the house in an exclusive golf resort outside the picturesque town of Malinalco, in the central State of Mexico, from Bienes Raíces H&G SA.

The firm, commercial records show, is owned by Juan Armando Hinojosa, whose companies have won hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of public-works projects during Mr. Peña Nieto’s time as governor of the State of Mexico and during his current administration.

Mr. Videgaray isn’t accused of an illegal act. But the transaction adds to the appearance of conflicts of interest that have damaged Mr. Peña Nieto’s credibility and popularity after he came to ... Read More

El gobierno de Peña parece pasmado

| October 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Excelsior

POR LEO ZUCKERMANN

Si hay algo que se le puede reconocer al gobierno de Peña Nieto es la disciplina para ceñirse a una estrategia bien pensada. Gracias a eso lograron aprobar importantes reformas estructurales durante el primer tercio del sexenio. No se salieron del guión y eso fue factor clave de éxito. Pero hoy las circunstancias han cambiado y lo que ahora han demostrado es que no son buenos para improvisar. Se distinguieron para seguir a la perfección un libreto, pero han sido lentos para reaccionar si ocurre algo que no estaba planeado.

¿Dónde está el liderazgo del Presidente en estos días aciagos cuando miles de jóvenes salen a las calles demandando la aparición de los 43 normalistas desaparecidos? ¿Dónde están sus dos hombres fuertes del gabinete, los supersecretarios que nos tenían acostumbrados a defender con elocuencia las posturas gubernamentales? ¿Dónde está Miguel Ángel Osorio para estabilizar la grave situación ... Read More

Inicia operaciones el Fondo Mexicano del Petróleo

| September 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
Milenio Diario

Ciudad de México

El secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgaray anunció que a partir de este martes queda constituido el Fondo Mexicano del Petróleo, que contribuirá a la estabilidad de las finanzas públicas en el largo plazo.

A través de este fondo se busca dar transparencia al manejo de los recursos que deriven de la renta petrolera, además de dar certeza a las futuras generaciones de que en el futuro estará garantizado el desarrollo.

Además de anunciar la creación del Fondo Mexicano del Petróleo, el secretario de Hacienda anunció la creación de tres instrumentos cuyo objetivo es acercar a los pequeños ahorradores a las oportunidades inversión que representa la reforma energética.

Participación de Banxico

La constitución del Fondo Mexicano del Petróleo demanda la participación del Banco de México al ser el fiduciario.

El titular del banco central, Agustín Carstens, dijo que es estimulante ser el fiduciario en cumplimiento de un mandato constitucional.

El banco central, ... Read More

Mexico Lays out Energy Reform Rules

| May 1st, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By MARK STEVENSON

The Mexican government on Wednesday unveiled its proposed rules for a historic opening of the state-owned oil and energy industry, saying contracts and production licenses should be put out for public bid and go to the company that offers the best return.

Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said the service station monopoly of state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos would fade only gradually as the necessary distribution and other infrastructure is made ready. Private companies will not be allowed to immediately open gas stations to compete with it.

Joaquin Coldwell said that Mexican suppliers would be given preference in contracts over foreign firms in cases where both offer the same terms. And he said that Mexico would seek a goal of ensuring 25 percent “national content” goal in energy projects.

The rules must still be approved by Congress.

Mexico nationalized the oil industry in 1938, but in recent years Petroleos ... Read More

Mexico’s Anti-Market Antitrust Law

| April 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADY

Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party President Enrique Peña Nieto has never claimed to be a policy wonk. He is an able politician with a vision of the future, and leaves the questions of how to get there to the skilled technocrats he hires.

Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, who has a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, leads the Peña Nieto team of reformers. Such strong academic credentials ought to inspire confidence. But over 16 months Mr. Videgaray has gradually revealed a deep-seated mistrust of markets that threatens the faster growth his boss has promised.

The latest manifestation is a new antitrust law, initiated in the executive branch and expected to pass in Congress this week. It increases the discretionary power of regulators to penalize companies with a dominant market share even if there is no evidence of anticompetitive practices.

Since he took office in December 2012, Mr. Peña Nieto ... Read More

Bajar crecimiento económico: tradición de este sexenio

| February 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
Excelsior

LEO ZUCKERMANN

La economía mexicana sigue mal. La supuesta recuperación no está ocurriendo. Persiste un crecimiento muy bajo, casi nulo. Sólo un verdadero milagro durante el segundo semestre del año hará realidad el pronóstico de la Secretaría de Hacienda de que el Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) crecerá 3.9% en 2014. Cada vez se ve más irreal esta estimación. Si bien nos va, la economía aumentará tres por ciento. ¿Hay alguien en el gobierno que esté preocupado y ocupado por la débil situación económica del país? ¿No debería el secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgaray, hacer algo al respecto? ¿No tendría que empezar por ajustar las expectativas de crecimiento a la baja?

Eso sería lo responsable, pero supongo que se resiste a hacerlo. Y es que el año pasado la Secretaría de Hacienda tuvo que revisar en varias ocasiones su pronóstico de crecimiento del PIB a la baja, lo cual resultó bochornoso. Cuando tomó posesión Peña, ... Read More

Mexico Sees Economic-Growth Boost From 2014 Budget

| November 15th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY ANTHONY HARRUP

MEXICO CITY—Higher public and social investment in Mexico’s 2014 budget should help boost economic growth next year, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said Thursday.

Mr. Videgaray said at a news conference that the 4.5 trillion peso ($346 billion) budget, which the lower house of Congress gave final approval to early Thursday, raises government spending by 8.8% from 2013 levels. Public spending on infrastructure is expected to be 14% higher, including a more-than-50% increase in investment for communications and transport.

In response to the economic slowdown this year, when gross domestic product is expected to grow just 1.2%, the Congress approved a fiscal deficit for next year equivalent to 3.5% of gross domestic product. This includes financed investment at state oil monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos for 2% of GDP. This year’s deficit is expected to be around 2.4% of GDP.

Passage of the budget followed approval by Congress of a series of tax increases, ... Read More

Mexico says it will waive most of $487 mln debt owed by Cuba

| November 4th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

The Mexican government is ready to waive 70 percent of a debt worth nearly $500 million Cuba owes it, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said on Friday, as Mexico seeks to improve ties with the communist island.

Speaking on Mexican radio, Videgaray said a loan issued by Mexico’s foreign trade development bank Bancomext to Cuba more than 15 years ago had become a debt worth $487 million.

“Seventy percent of the debt is to be waived,” Videgaray said, adding that a formal announcement would be made later.

The rest of the debt will be paid in 10 years, he added.

Relations between Cuba and Mexico were traditionally strong, but they soured during the rule of the conservative National Action Party between 2000 and 2012.

Ties reached a nadir in 2002 when Cuba’s Fidel Castro revealed how then-Mexican President Vicente Fox had told him to leave an international summit early after eating his lunch so he would ... Read More

AP Interview: Mexico Leader to Continue Drug Fight

| December 11th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY KATHERINE CORCORAN

Newly elected President Enrique Pena Nieto says he will continue combatting all illegal drug production and trafficking in Mexico, including marijuana, despite its legalization in two U.S. states and liberalized use for medical purposes in others.

In an interview with The Associated Press late Monday on goals for his new administration, Pena Nieto was asked if votes to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado would make him rethink Mexico’s drug-war policy.

“The short answer is no,” said Pena Nieto, who added that he remains personally opposed to legalization. “My government will continue mounting a real fight against the trafficking of marijuana and all other drugs.”

He has proposed focusing on reducing violence in Mexico rather than capturing top drug lords, a change from his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. Many have viewed that as a signal that as long as drug gangs don’t attack civilians, they would be left ... Read More

Mexico’s new government: With a little help from my friends

| December 7th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Economist

“IT IS time to get Mexico moving,” declared Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured) on December 1st in his first speech as the country’s president. As an audience of politicians and diplomats stood to applaud his inaugural address in the national palace, masked youths smashed the windows of banks and hotels a few blocks away. The Alameda park, recently reopened after a $20m facelift, was daubed in graffiti denouncing the new government.

The return to power of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ran Mexico in authoritarian style for seven decades until 2000, was always likely to attract protests. A handful of congressmen loyal to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a left-winger who came second in July’s election, heckled Mr Peña as he took the oath of office, claiming (with no evidence) that he had stolen victory. Attacked on the street and lacking a majority in both houses of Congress, can Mexico’s new president ... Read More

Out with the old, in with the… old

| December 3rd, 2012 | No Comments »
The Economist

MEXICO’S incoming president, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), will be sworn in on December 1st. Today the members of his cabinet and presidential staff were announced in a brief ceremony in the capital. The 17 men and three women in the cabinet, plus a handful of other senior appointments, represent a mixture of young technocrats and familiar faces from PRI governments of the 1990s.

Luis Videgaray, Mr Peña’s closest advisor, will go to the Hacienda, as Mexico’s finance ministry is known. Mr Videgaray, an MIT-trained economist, was Mr Peña’s finance minister during the latter’s time as governor of Mexico state, from 2005 to 2011, and is seen as the intellectual force behind many of the new administration’s proposals. The economics ministry will be headed by Ildefonso Guajardo, an economist with a career including a stint at the IMF as well as assorted roles in government.

Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, ... Read More

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