New York, Jan 16 (IANS) Former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto accepted a $100 million bribe from drug cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a witness has testified.
Alex Cifuentes, who says he was a close associate of Guzman for years, told a New York City court that he had told authorities of the bribe in 2016, the BBC reported.
Guzman, 61, has been on trial in Brooklyn since November after he was extradited from Mexico to face charges of trafficking cocaine, heroin and other drugs as leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the US calls the world’s largest.
According to reporters in the Brooklyn courthouse, Nieto, who served as the president of Mexico from 2012 to 2018, had requested $250 million before settling for $100 million.
Cifuentes, a Colombian drug lord who has described himself as El Chapo’s “right-hand man”, claimed the delivery was made to Mexico City in October 2012 by a friend of El Chapo.
Cifuentes, worked as his secretary and spent two years hiding from authorities with him in the Mexican mountains, according to prosecutors.
He was arrested in Mexico in 2013 and was later extradited to the US where he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in a deal with prosecutors.
Pena Nieto has not responded to the latest claim, but has previously rejected allegations of corruption that had surfaced during the trial since it began in November.