Witness: El Chapo bribed former Mexican president
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 1/16/19, 12:05 pm
Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman paid a $100 million bribe to the former president of Mexico, a Colombian drug trafficker testified in court on Tuesday. Alex Cifuentes told the New York courtroom at Guzman’s trial for murder and drug conspiracy that the kingpin successfully bribed President Enrique Peña Nieto to call off a manhunt in 2012. The money allegedly changed hands after Peña Nieto was elected but before he took office. A spokesman for the former president, who left office in 2018, called the claim “false and defamatory.”
When attorneys confronted Cifuentes about confusion surrounding the details of the bribe, he acknowledged he first spoke with prosecutors about the allegations in 2016, when he began cooperating with U.S. authorities. “By 2018, suddenly the numbers became fuzzy?” Guzman’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, asked. “Yes, sir,” the witness responded.
The trial has included numerous allegations of bribes or attempts to bribe high-level officials in Mexico and Colombia, including another former Mexican president, Felipe Calderón. If convicted, Guzman could spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison.
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Kiley is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on marriage, family, and sexuality.