Alex Cifuentes, a former personal aide to Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, the renowned Mexican drug kingpin, has said his former boss paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Cifuentes, a Colombian trafficker who once served as Guzman’s secretary, made the allegation on Tuesday while testifying at the trial of the drug baron in a Brooklyn federal court in the United States.
He had been testifying about the two years they spent together in the mountains of Sinaloa, while El Chapo had been declared wanted.
Previous testimonies at the trial had implicated Mexican politicians, police and military officials in a large corruption network that aided the drug kingpin’s cartel’s trafficking, according to CNN.
There is a possibility that El Chapo could be called upon to testify himself during the trial if his attorneys choose to allow him.
During a cross examination, defence lawyer, Lichtman, referred to transcripts of de-briefing Cifuentes had with US authorities, alleging that a $100 million bribe was paid to Pena Nieto, who was president from 2012 to 2018.
Lichtman had claimed in November 2018, that there were evidences that Peña Nieto and former Mexican presidents “received hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes from El Chapo.”
However, a spokesman for Peña Nieto at the time denied the accusation in a statement posted on Twitter:
“The government of Enrique Peña Nieto persecuted, captured, and extradited the criminal Joaquin Guzman Loera,” the statement said.
“The accusations made by his lawyer are completely false and defamatory.”
Recounting the statement he made to the authorities, Cifuentes said the money was given to Peña Nieto in October 2012, when he became president-elect.
“Yes, that very thing is what Joaquin told me, adding that a bribe would enable the kingpin to “continue working.”
Cifuentes was arrested in Mexico in 2013. He was later extradited to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and entered a cooperation agreement with the US government.
However, El Chapo, 61, has pleaded “not guilty”.
If convicted of international drug trafficking, conspiring to murder rivals, gun charges and money laundering, he faces a life sentence.
He was extradited to from Mexico to the US in 2017 for the trial.