Cifuentes, left, and Guzmán. Cifuentes, left, and Guzmán spent time together hiding in the mountains.

El Chapo paid US $100-million bribe to Peña Nieto: witness

A former Colombian drug lord said the bribe was paid in late 2012

A witness at the New York trial of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán testified today that former president Enrique Peña Nieto accepted a US $100-million bribe from the former head of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Alex Cifuentes Villa, formerly a Colombian drug lord who worked with Guzmán, confirmed the bribe during cross-examination by Jeffrey Lichtman, a lawyer for Guzmán.

“Mr. Guzmán paid a bribe of $100 million to President Peña Nieto?” Lichtman asked.

“Yes,” Cifuentes replied.

The money was delivered in October 2012 by an intermediary, he said. Peña Nieto was president-elect at the time.

The allegation first came up when the trial began in November. Lichtman said in his opening statement that cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada paid millions of dollars in bribes to both Peña Nieto and his predecessor, Felipe Calderón.

Both men denied taking bribes from the cartel.

Cifuentes has described himself as Guzmán’s one-time right-hand man.

They spent time together hiding at remote ranches in the Sierra Madre mountains between 2007 and 2013 while Guzmán was on the run.

Source: Milenio (sp), New York Times (en), Reuters (en)

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