Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the most vilified of recent Mexican presidents, returned home today after four years of self-exile in Ireland.

The two-day visit is his first since leaving in disgrace in March 1995 following Mexico's crushing peso crisis and the consequent recession.

Salinas's return contrasted starkly with the triumphant conclusion of his presidency in December 1994 and six years of economic reforms that supporters said had lifted Mexico out of the third world.

Days after his presidency ended, debts assumed during his 1988-94 term forced the government to devalue the peso, plunging the country into a two-year recession.

Salinas has argued that his successor, Ernesto Zedillo, mismanaged the debts and caused the crisis.

"I'm not going to deny that there were insufficiencies, that errors were committed," Salinas said of his policies in a television interview.

Taxpayers were forced to pay $65 billion to bail out the banks after the crisis, which decimated Mexico's foreign reserves and cost many Mexicans their homes and businesses.

Salinas's brother, Raul, sent more than $100 million to offshore banks while serving in his brother's administration. He is currently on trial on charges of illegally enriching himself.

Raul Salinas is serving a 50-year prison sentence for masterminding the 1994 murder of a political rival. Carlos Salinas has given testimony from Ireland in his brother's trial.