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Witness Claims El Chapo Paid $100M Bribe to Mexican President

18 January 2019

When asked if he told authorities in 2016 that Guzman arranged the bribe, he answered, "That's right". Pena Nieto was unable to be reached for comment.

Pena Nieto has previously denied taking bribes from drug traffickers. He was arrested in 2013 and turned against his boss when he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in a deal with USA prosecutors.

Cifuentes testified he had told United States prosecutors that Peña Nieto initially reached out to Guzman, asking for $US250 million.

Ciefuentes has testified that he lived with Guzman for a period of time at one of the kingpin's hideaways in Mexico.

Cifuentes was a key figure in the Sinaloa Cartel, of which Guzman was the head, and claimed that he had heard Guzman bragging about the bribe to the former president. He said Zambada was the real boss of the cartel.

Guzman's lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, also confronted Cifuentes with his prior statements about another debriefing a year ago where Cifuentes questioned his own memory about the circumstance of the bribe.

The federal judge in the case has warned the defense attorney for Guzman from making unsubstantiated claims of corruption in order to defend his client. Cifuentes admitted that at a meeting previous year, he told prosecutors he was no longer sure of the exact amounts of the bribes, but did not elaborate.

Nieto is the former President of Mexico, who held office from 2012 to 2018. He was once a rising star in Mexico's long-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and was the former governor of the state of Mexico, the country's most populous. He was replaced in November by the newly elected Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Under cross-examination by one of Guzman's lawyers, Colombian-born Alex Cifuentes, a self-described close associate of the accused drug lord and member of the Sinaloa Cartel, confirmed he told authorities in 2016 about the arrangement but admitted he didn't know when the alleged bribe occurred. However, during the course of Tuesday's testimony, he also clarified that he was "confused" about the exact amount of bribe paid to Nieto.

Witness Claims El Chapo Paid $100M Bribe to Mexican President