Former Mexican President Investigated for Graft

MEXICO CITY (AFP) — Former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is being investigated in a graft scandal at the country’s massive state oil company Pemex, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The probe relates to the conduct of the firm’s former chief executive Emilio Lozoya, who was arrested in Spain last week and faces extradition on claims he accepted millions of dollars in bribes.

This 2017 photo shows Mexico’s then-President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during a press conference at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

An unnamed senior judicial official told the Journal that Lozoya’s corruption “reached the highest level” and implicated Peña Nieto, who left office in late 2018.

The former leader could be charged as the investigation continues, according to the official quoted in the newspaper’s Wednesday report.

Lozoya is wanted in Mexico for involvement in a vast corruption scandal involving Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction firm accused of paying almost $1 billion to politicians across Latin America to win lucrative contracts.

He allegedly began taking payments from the company in 2012, when he was chief international strategist for Peña Nieto, who at the time was running for president.

Part of the money allegedly was used to finance Peña Nieto’s campaign. Lozoya denies the accusations against him.

Pemex is Mexico’s largest firm but has been beleaguered by more than $100 billion in debt, making it one of the world’s most indebted companies.

© Agence France-Presse

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