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Mexican geeks crack controversial gov't report

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Mexico's leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) Wednesday revealed a long-sought list of 2300 questionable loans that it obtained by cracking a password on a protected CD, Reuters reports.

"Here you are going to find big loans to very well-known companies," PRD legislator Pablo Gomez said as the list was released at a news conference.

The PRD had recently commissioned computer hackers to crack a password protecting a list of those benefiting from a $100 billion bank bailout which followed the currency crisis of 1994 and 1995.

Opposition leaders had called for publication of the list, which they claimed would implicate businessmen and government officials in shady loan schemes, hoping to have the information public before the recent presidential election, which was held on 2 July.

The disk containing the information had been protected by five passwords held by Mexico's chief political parties. Four opposition parties revealed their passwords, but the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) declined.

Now that the information has been obtained, unfortunately a bit late for use as campaign ammunition, the PRD will set about establishing that the bank bailout scheme enabled corrupt bankers and government officials to recover losses on illegal loans.

Under the rules of the bailout, beneficiaries must repay the government for any loans covered in the rescue that are found to have been dirty, Reuters notes.

Gomez said at the news conference that questionable loans covered by the rescue operation included some to PRI supporters, including the well-known Hank Gonzalez, Gutierrez Cortina and Santos de Hoyos families, the wire service says.

The list also included the names of former bankers already being criminally prosecuted for alleged fraud: Carlos Cabal Peniche of Cremi-Union, Jorge Lankenau of Confia and Angel Isidoro Rodriguez of Banpais. ®

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