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A witness in the ongoing trial of infamous Mexican drug cartel kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera, a.k.a. “El Chapo,” testified Tuesday that former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100 million bribe from Guzmán.
The witness, Alex Cifuentes Villa, is a former Colombian drug lord who worked closely with Guzmán from 2007 to 2013. His bombshell testimony comes amid a trial that has revealed corruption at almost every level of the Mexican government.
New - York - Times - Guzmán - Lawyers
According to The New York Times, one of Guzmán’s lawyers, Jeffrey Lichtman, asked Cifuentes during cross-examination, “Mr. Guzmán paid a bribe of $100 million to President Peña Nieto?” “Yes,” responded Cifuentes.
Later, Cifuentes said Peña Nieto is the one who first reached out to Guzmán, asking for $250 million in exchange for allowing him to come out of hiding. Guzmán offered $100 million instead.
Trial - November - Lichtman - Bribes - Payoffs
When the trial began back in November, Lichtman alluded to high-level bribes and payoffs while outlining an overall defense that alleged Guzmán was framed by his partner, Ismael Zambada García, in league with corrupt American D.E.A. agents and top officials in the Mexican government, including two presidents.
Peña Nieto denied taking bribes at the time. Later the judge in the case, Brian M. Cogan, forbade testimony from Jesus Zambada García, Ismael Zambada’s brother, who reportedly would have testified that two Mexican presidents took bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Mexico - Official - President - Felipe - Calderón
He did, however, testify that he had bribed Mexico’s top law-enforcement official under President Felipe Calderón, twice handing off briefcases stuffed with $3 million in cash to Genaro García Luna, who was in charge of the Federal Investigation Agency, Mexico’s federal police force equivalent of the F.B.I., and was later appointed secretary for...
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