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The former chief of Mexico’s state oil giant has accused former President Enrique Pena Nieto of taking bribes, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said.
In a televised statement, Attorney General Alejandro Gerts Manero said Pena Nieto and finance minister Luis Videgaray had allegedly tasked former Pemex chief Emilio Lozoya to use more than $4 million in illicit payments from Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht to pay consultants to Pena Nieto’s campaign.
“There were a series of bribes for a quantity of more than 100 million pesos, which were fundamentally used for the 2012 campaign for the presidency of the republic,” GA Gerts Manero said. “And those who were later president and his finance secretary are the people who this individual presenting the complaint says ordered that the money be given to various foreign electoral advisers who collaborated and worked on the campaign of these two people.”
The Wall Street Journal notes Lozoya is himself the object of a corruption investigation.
Among the other allegations made by the former Pemex head are that some of the bribe money was used to convince Mexican legislators to vote for reforms pushed by the Pena Nieto administration including the notorious energy industry reform that saw Pemex lose its monopoly on the Mexican market and foreign companies enter the country’s oil and gas industry.
Lozoya has supplied prosecutors with witnesses’ names and documents and video footage to serve as evidence for his allegations. Now, the Attorney General’s Office will check this evidence to establish whether it is solid enough to lead to prosecution.
The news, however, will likely work in favor of the current administration: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador came into office with a strong anti-energy industry reform stance and almost immediately launched a review of all contracts that the previous administration inked with private energy companies to see if there was corruption involved in the deals.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.