Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador presented a report Wednesday at a press conference that illustrated the opacity in which 109 public trust funds were handled, exposing the flagrant corruption behind public funding in Mexico.
The report revealed the multiple inconsistencies regarding the management and allocation of the financial resources. In many instances, the dependencies that supposedly benefited from the trust funds received a small fraction of the millions of dollars assigned to them.
One of the cases mentioned at the press conference involved the Trust for Central American and Caribbean Sports Resources of Veracruz, which was created in 2009. The federal government transferred money to the governor of Veracruz state at the time, Javier Duarte, where $41 million invested in the project was used for unknown reasons. Duarte is currently serving time in prison for corruption and embezzlement.
Maria Elena Alvarez-Buylla, director of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), explained during the press conference how through this funding mechanism, more than $1.9 million was transferred to large transnational companies and private businesses from 2000 to 2018.
Some 44% of the financial resources designated for scientific research ended up in private businesses' hands with no visible improvements in technological or scientific development.
The company that benefited the most from the financial scheme was RH Mexico Simulation and Training, a subsidiary of a German firm, which received $72 million through Conacyt trust funds.
The report also revealed the use of public funding and financing from government-owned companies in which 80% of the financial resources were used for public infrastructure projects. In contrast, only 8% had been used for scientific purposes.
The opposition has launched a disinformation campaign about these funds, said Lopez Obrador before presenting the report.
"Defending these trust funds is to defend corruption," he added.
The 109 trust funds were approved to be eliminated and their assets seized by the government in a bill that has caused a backlash among both politicians and citizens.
By Jorge Antonio Rocha in Mexico