On June 26, Mongolia’s presidential election will take place. It is set to be a controversial one, marked already by corruption, scandal, media censorship, and insurmountable distrust among the constituencies. On May 9, 2017 an audio recording was released to the public. It appeared to be a recording of a 90-minute conversation between the chairman of the Parliament, M. Enkhbold, who is running for president as the candidate of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP); the chairman of the Office of People’s Committee, Ts. Sandui; and A. Ganbaatar. This audio, allegedly recorded in 2014, preceded Mongolia’s parliamentary elections of June 2016. The recording became famous for discussion of the MPP’s “60 billion tugrik” ($25 million) deal to take bribes to shuffle government positions as part of a plan to empower its party grip.
The audio was quickly spread around social media and reached millions of people. To critics, the conversation was shocking evidence of high-level corruption and bribery. However, the Mongolian justice department and law enforcement have ruled that this recording is fake and that the voices of the three gentlemen in question were replicated. Despite the law enforcement’s conclusion, Mongolian people at home and abroad are highly suspicious, arguing that if MPP did make a $25 million deal to bolster its power, the legal apparatus may be corrupted as well. Other experts in the production field stated that creating 90 minutes of back-and-forth conversation with artificially replicated voices is almost impossible.
More interestingly, Sandui, one of the men allegedly speaking in the recording, flip-flopped on his statements a number of times, rousing yet more suspicion.