El Chapo Bribed Mexican Ex-President $100M: Witness
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Notorious Mexican drug cartel leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, gave $100 million bribe to former Mexican president, according a witness speaking at the drug lord's trial.
Testifying in New York, witness Alex Cifuentes said El Chapo bribed ex-President Enrique Pena Nieto to call off a countrywide operation to capture him, Anadolu Agency reported.
The witness who agreed to cooperate with US officials in 2016 stated that a woman identified as "Comadre Maria" was the person delivering the money to Nieto in the capital Mexico City in October 2012. At that time, Nieto was elected as president but had not taken over his duties yet.
In November, Nieto's spokesman stressed that the allegations about bribery were "completely wrong and unrealistic."
Nieto has yet to respond to the claims of Cifuentes, a former close personal aide to the Mexican drug lord.
However, El Chapo's lawyer said the bribe was paid by Ismael Zambada Garcia, known as El Mayo, whom he also accused to be the true boss of the Sinaloa Cartel, world’s biggest drug organization.
El Chapo, described by the US government as the "world's most ruthless, dangerous and feared person," was first arrested in 1993 on drug-trafficking charges.
He was given a 20-year prison sentence but managed to escape from the Puente Grande jail in 2001.
He was captured a second time in February 2014, but again escaped five months later from the maximum security prison in Altiplano, near Mexico City.
El Chapo was finally caught in the northwestern state of Sinaloa in January 2016, following a massive manhunt that lasted several months.
He is wanted in the US on 17 charges including murder, drug trafficking, laundering, organized crime and firearms possession.
US prosecutors want El Chapo to be sentenced to life and fined at least $14 billion.
Hollywood actor Sean Penn interviewed El Chapo for the Rolling Stone magazine before he was captured in 2016.
“I sell more drugs than anyone else in the world. I have a fleet of trucks, boats, planes and submarines,” said El Chapo during the interview.