President López Obrador on Wednesday condemned former president Ernesto Zedillo for taking a position on the board of Citigroup more than a decade ago.
Zedillo, president from 1994 to 2000, has sat on the board since 2011 and received income of more than US $3 million from the American bank, the newspaper Milenio revealed.
Asked about the ex-president’s employment at his regular news conference, López Obrador described it as something “completely immoral.”
Citigroup purchased Mexican bank Banamex the year after Zedillo left office.
López Obrador noted that his administration has enacted a law that – for a period of 10 years – prevents former high-ranking public officials from working for companies they regulated, supervised or of which they have “privileged information” as a result of their government work.
Before the law took effect, there was no impediment to former officials quickly taking up positions at private companies with which they had dealings while in government.
“This wasn’t regulated, that’s why [former government officials] went to companies [soon after they left public office]. If Zedillo has income it’s because of that, but it’s corrected now,” López Obrador said.
Zedillo, however, took up his position with Citigroup more than a decade after he left office in late 2000.
But the ex-president did take up a board position with rail company Union Pacific shortly after the conclusion of his presidency, during which he privatized Mexico’s rail system.
López Obrador also noted that Felipe Calderón, president from 2006 to 2012 and federal energy minister in 2003 and 2004, joined the board of a subsidiary of Spanish energy company Iberdrola after he left office.
“… It’s something despicable, it’s immoral,” he said.
With reports from Milenio