The Miami Herald
Wed, Feb. 25, 2004
Green Party leader on tape discussing bribe

MEXICO CITY - (AP) -- A nationally broadcast video Tuesday showed the leader of Mexico's Green Party discussing $2 million in bribes offered by a land developer. Sen. Jorge Emilio González denied wrongdoing.

''I never committed any crime whatsoever. There was never any bribe,'' González said at a news conference.

The video, shot in December, appears to be part of a battle for control of Mexico's fourth-largest party. A dissident faction has been trying to rip control of the Green Party away from González's family, which has dominated it since it was founded.

González said he had no plans to resign and dismissed suggestions that he open his bank accounts to prove that he had not accepted any bribes. ''The only proof I have is my word,'' he said.

The video shows González offering to speak with officials in the Green Party-governed resort city of Cancún about permits for two development projects in the area.

''How much goes to us, 2 million dollars?'' González asks. ''One immediately and one with the land ready,'' the developer replies. No money is seen exchanging hands.

The blurry black-and-white tape was repeatedly broadcast on Mexican television Tuesday. González first insisted the tape had been ''made in Hollywood'' but later acknowledged it was genuine.

González blamed the affair on Green Party dissident Santiago León, who earlier in the day acknowledged making the videotape. León arranged the meeting in Cancún with a businessman named Luis Lara, González said. Lara could not be located for comment.