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The contracts were awarded to the Israelis through federal institutions such as the Police, the Interior Ministry, and the Social Readaptation Agency.
The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) denounced that the Israeli company NSO Group and its spying program Pegasus are involved in 31 contracts worth US$61 million signed from 2011 to 2018.
"These contracts involve the governments of Felipe Calderon (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018)," said Rosa Rodriguez, head of the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC).
On July 18, an international investigation revealed that over 50,000 phones worldwide were spied with Pegasus. In the first reactions to this information, the Attorney General's Office (FGR) announced an investigation and the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) revealed that previous Mexican governments paid US$32 million to the Israeli company.
Subsequently, the Security Secretariat discovered 16 contracts awarded to the Israelis through the Federal Police, the Interior Ministry, the Prevention and Social Readaptation Agency, the Federal Protection Service, and the National Security and Research Center.
"The Israeli company used paper companies through which it hid contracts related to the Pegasus software," Rodriguez said, explaining that these fraudulent contracts were defined without reference to the use of intelligence technology. Among the participants in this corruption network was Genaro Garcia, who headed the Security Secretariat and is now imprisoned in New York.
After handing over all the information about the Pegasus scandal to the Attorney General's Office, the current Mexican government promised that all contracts will be uploaded to the web so that the population can see what happened. While AMLO and his family were also victims of spying, he will not directly investigate the actions of his predecessors.
Instead, AMLO called on citizens to participate in a popular consultation on August 1 through which the Mexican State will define actions regarding human rights violations that took place under previous governments.