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Circulation obstructed of "Proceso" magazine edition containing investigation of former First Lady's business dealings

(CEPET/IFEX) - Issues of the 28 October 2007 edition of "Proceso" magazine disappeared from the stands in the state of Guanajuato after a few individuals bought up almost all the copies of the publication, in an apparently concerted effort to prevent the public from reading the magazine's cover story, entitled "The Bribiesca towers". The story is about the business dealings of former first lady Marta Sahagún - Vicente Fox's wife - and her sons with a Guanajuato-based businessman. Guanajuato is a state located in central Mexico.

"Proceso" is the most influential political magazine in both Mexico as a whole and in Guanajuato state, where Fox and his wife have been residing since he left office. Fox's family is presently under investigation for illicitly-gained income and influence peddling. The former first lady has been implicated, as have her sons, Manuel and Jorge Alberto Bribiesca Sahagún, whose companies reportedly benefited from influence peddling involving Fox.

On 4 November, "Proceso" reported that the previous week's issue was not available in most stores and newspaper kiosks, because, they had been informed, either someone bought up all the copies or because the copies never made it to the stands.

Independent newspaper and magazine distributor Martín Medina explained that he normally receives 100 copies of the magazine on Sundays and another 70 copies on Tuesdays. Most of the copies had been sold by noon on 29 October, a Monday. "We came to the conclusion that (someone was buying up the copies) because of the front-page report on the Bribiesca family," Medina said.

Most copies of the magazine, normally sold in newspaper kiosks and in big chain stores like Sanborn's, Mega Comercial, Wal-Mart and Vips, were bought up by a few individuals who asked for all available copies. An employee of the Plaza Mayor Sanborn's store told "Proceso" that on the afternoon of 28 October, a middle-aged man accompanied by a teenager bought 71 copies of the magazine. At another store, an individual bought 59 copies two hours after the magazine went on sale.

Similar incidents occurred in a kiosk in the Zapato de León square and in stores and restaurants in the city of Irapuato. One individual who bought up all the copies reportedly explained that it was because of the report on "of Fox's illegal business dealings."

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