Mexico's president has apologized for a 2014 scandal involving a $7 million mansion his wife bought from a firm that won lucrative contracts with his administration.

President Enrique Pena Nieto had reacted crossly at the time to those who criticized the purchase. First Lady Angelica Rivera later returned the mansion, which she had been buying in installments. She claimed she was using money she earned during her career as an actress.

But on Monday, Pena Nieto said he understood why Mexicans would be angry about the apparent conflict of interest.

Pena Nieto said he was deeply sorry and asked Mexicans for their forgiveness.

Speaking at the presentation of a new anti-corruption law, Pena Nieto offered "my profound and sincere apology for the offense and indignation I caused."