El Chapo allegedly bribed high-ranking government officials

Zambada said he paid “a few million” dollars to a Mexico City government official while López Obrador was the mayor

El Chapo allegedly bribed high-ranking government officials
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán - Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP
English 22/11/2018 11:40 Reuters Mexico City Brendan Pierson Actualizada 11:41
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On Tuesday, a witness at the U.S. drug trafficking trial of accused Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán testified that he paid a multimillion-dollar bribe to an underling of Mexican President-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2005.

The witness, Jesús Zambada, also said he paid millions of dollars in bribes to former Mexican government official Genaro García Luna on behalf of his brother, drug lord Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who remains at large.

In a written statement, García Luna said the accusations were “defamation” and “perjury” and made without any proof.

García Luna said he had received commendations from high-level U.S. officials for his labors in fighting organized crime in Mexico and that he had been “systematically defamed” due to the actions he took against criminal networks.

“There has never been a single proof or evidence of all those infamies,” he said.

Zambada gave his testimony about the bribes on the fifth day of trial under cross-examination by one of Guzmán’s lawyers, William Purpura. Guzmán’s lawyers have said they will try to prove that Guzmán is being scapegoated and that Ismael Zambada is the real head of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Zambada, who was called to testify against Guzmán under an agreement with U.S. prosecutors, previously told jurors that his brother and Guzmán worked together for years to move multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia through Mexico and into the United States, while arranging for their rivals to be murdered.

During Purpura’s cross-examination, Zambada said he paid “a few million” dollars to a Mexico City government official while López Obrador was the mayor. He said the bribe was paid because it was believed that the official could become Mexico’s next secretary of public security.

The name of the official was not immediately clear but Gabriel Regino, a former sub-secretary of public security in Mexico City, who is now a criminal law professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, wrote on Twitter that an accusation of bribery had emerged against him in the trial but was false.

Zambada also said that he handed a suitcase containing USD $3 million to García Luna in 2005 or 2006, when García Luna was the director of Mexico’s Federal Investigation Agency.

García Luna said the charge was “unbelievable” since he was not able to appoint officials to posts, as Zambada alleged, and such designations were made by a council.

Zamabada said he gave him another USD $3 million to USD $5 million in 2007, when he became secretary of public security, to secure a favorable treatment for the cartel.

García Luna said he never had contact with Zambada and there was a public record of all his meetings in and out of the office when he was secretary of public security.


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