Mexico’s chief prosecutor has come under scrutiny this week after an anti-corruption NGO revealed he registered a Ferrari to a false address outside Mexico City, a ruse normally used by tax-dodgers.
Raul Cervantes’ Ferrari 458 Coupe with a price tag of around $200,000 was registered in the state of Morelos, according to an investigation by Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity. Owners of luxury cars often register their vehicles outside of the state of Mexico to escape an annual 5 percent tax rated on the value of the vehicle.
A lawyer for the prosecutor said it was due to an “administrative error” made by the car dealership. The revelations come as Cervantes, a former senator in President Enrique Pena Nieto’s PRI party, is due to take over as head of a reformed prosecution service, set up under a 2013 constitutional reform to guarantee political independence following public pressure.
The Ferrari incident has predictably triggered opposition outrage. “The Ferrari affair eliminates any moral possibility” that Cervantes be appointed, said Luis Humberto Fernandez of the leftist Morena party. “The problem of Raul Cervantes’ Ferrari is not the luxury car but his cynicism in trying to escape taxes,” tweeted Leonardo Nunez, of the Center for Economic Research and Teaching.
Cervantes still has to have his nomination approved by the Senate, which is controlled by the PRI and its allies.
“As a lawyer for the nation, and not just for the government, the new prosecutor will need ample social support to confront those who violate the law and the rule of law,” Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity wrote in an open letter demanding the Senate suspend his “automatic” appointment.