Mexican tribunal quashes fine against president-elect's party

Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks to the media during a news conference in Mexico City Mexico, August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s electoral tribunal has revoked a $10 million fine imposed on the party of leftist President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who had condemned the sanction as an “act of vengeance” against him for his July 1 election victory.

The fine was handed down by the National Electoral Institute in July over a trust that Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) had created to help victims of the destructive earthquakes that struck Mexico in September 2017.

The INE said MORENA had broken campaign finance rules and been opaque about how money came in and out of the fund. The party vehemently rejected that finding and challenged the fine.

In a statement issued early on Saturday, the Federal Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Branch said its magistrates had ruled the INE probe was not exhaustive or consistent enough to uphold the fine.

As a result, it was not clear that MORENA had benefited from the allegations in question, leading the tribunal to “respect the presumption of innocence” of the party, it said.

Lopez Obrador, 64, won the presidential election by a landslide, and is due to take office on Dec. 1.

($1 = 19.0700 Mexican pesos)

Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Leslie Adler