Mexican president owns no cars or real estate, but his wife does

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Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador shows his watch following a question by a reporter after a news conference. Photo: Reuters
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Mexico: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday he owns no real estate, vehicles or personal property, echoing what experts say is a pattern among the country’s politicians of shifting assets to relatives.

Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, told a regular news conference his family’s cars and home are in his wife’s name.

The veteran leftist won a landslide victory in July after a campaign centred on rooting out corruption in Mexico, which experts say is among the worst in Latin America. Heg cuts an austere figure, ditching the presidential residence, flying coach and driving a white Volkswagen Jetta.

Transparency advocates welcome Lopez Obrador’s disclosure after battling to get members of his predecessor Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration to open up about their finances, said Alexandra Zapata of the Mexican Institution for Competitiveness (IMCO), a think-tank that promotes good governance and fighting corruption.

But his declaration raised as many questions about his wealth as it answered, she added.

“The president, in an effort to send this message of austerity, loses credibility in how he talks about his property, his assets and his interests,” said Zapata, who is the group’s director of education and civic innovation.

Lopez Obrador disclosed monthly net income of 108,744 pesos ($5,600) from his government work and savings worth 446,068 pesos.

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