What goes around comes around, as the saying goes, and it was apparently the turn of Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to get a little reminder of the rules of karma last week

Amlo, as the populist leader is known, cast himself in the mould of swamp-drainer in his successful 2018 election campaign, but his government had little to show in terms of economic success or knockout punches for the opposition before Covid-19 arrived to make matters even worse.

The arrest, in Spain, of former Pemex boss Emilio Lozoya was like manna from heaven for Amlo, whose statements prior to Lozoya's return to Mexico hinted strongly at a deal whereby the ex-head of the state oil giant would dish the dirt on members of former administrations in return for sentencing leniency on corruption charges.

Amlo has since made the most of the widely leaked testimonies and even got Lozoya to corroborate the president's own claim that the country’s 2013 energy reforms were tainted by corruption in favour of private-sector interests.

Former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto was among those accused by Lozoya, and the officially promoted circulation of videos showing opposition politicians handling what seemed to be cash-filled packages suggested that Amlo's strategy appeared to be working.

The populist president signalled that he was mustering political forces to attempt a reversal of the market-opening reforms, probably after midterm elections next year.

Voices expressing concern about the lack of due process and the absence of any accusations against Amlo’s Morena party or allies were drowned out by the outrage.

Then, last week, two videos surfaced showing Amlo’s own brother taking packets of cash from a prominent political lobby operator in 2015, and Amlo found himself on the back foot.

In a video address, Amlo called for an investigation into the incident but insisted that there is a big difference between the “honest donations” received by his “peoples movement” and the corruption perpetrated by his rivals.

The laws of return, if they exist, seem to contain a dash of humour.

Amlo’s brother’s name is Pio which, loosely translated from Spanish, means “pious one”.