, 18 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
HUGE El Chapo news:
Alex Cifuentes just testified that Chapo paid Ernesto Pena Nieto a $100 million bribe.
Immediately admitting that Chapo told him about the bribe, the court adjourned for a 15 minute break.
"Mr. Guzman paid a bribe of $100 million to President Pena Nieto?" Chapo's lawyer, Jeff Lichtman, asked the witness.
"Yes," Mr. Cifuentes said.
In an early meeting the US government, in January 2016, Cifuentes first told prosecutors that Chapo paid a $250 million bribe to EPN but today on the witness stand said he wasn't sure about that original amount.
In those early meetings, Cifuentes told US authorities that a woman named Comadre Mia (or Maria) delivered $100 million to EPN in October 2012.
On the stand today, Cifuentes said he wasn't exactly sure of the date the bribe was delivered.
We are about to hear more about this--and perhaps other major bribes--in minutes. Stay tuned.
Cifuentes said that EPN reached out to Chapo first, asking for $250 million. Chapo offered EPN $100 million.
"The message was that Mr. Guzman didn't have to stay in hiding?" Chapo's lawyer asked.
"Yes," Cifuentes said, "that very thing is what Joaquin said to me."
Former Pres Felipe Calderon was also accused by Chapo's lawyers of taking bribes from drug traffickers.
Jeff Lichtman read Cifuentes notes from his 2/2016 interview with the US in which he said the Beltran Leyva brothers, Chapo's enemies, paid Calderon to protect them vs Chapo.
"I don't recall this incident very well," Cifuentes, adding moments later, "Right now, I do not remember that."
US federal prosecutors objected several times to the questions about bribes paid to Mexican presidents. Sometimes the objections were overruled by Judge Brian M. Cogan. Sometimes they were sustained.
Lichtman, for instance, confronted Cifuentes w/notes from his interview with US authorities in which he said that his former personal assistant, Andrea Velez Fernandez, had worked for a political consultant, JJ Rendon, who was hired by EPN's campaign....
According to the notes, Cifuentes had told the Americans that Andrea sent him photos of "suitcases filled w/cash."
Lichtman asked whether those suitcases were "destined President Pena Nieto."
The prosecutors objected on grounds of relevance.
"Agreed," Judge Cogan said.
There was no more testimony about the suitcases after that.
But there was more testimony about corruption.
Cifuentes said the Mexican federal police not only permitted drug trafficking, but took part in it. Once, he said, suitcases filled w/coke were sent by plane from Argentina to Mexico. Narcos sent the police photos of the suitcases.
Federal police officers then retrieved the suitcases from baggage claim, Cifuentes said, and sold the drugs themselves.
Cifuentes also testified that two or three times, Chapo paid the Mexican military $10-12 million to launch offensive operations against his rivals, the Beltran-Leyva brothers.
"During the war, Mr. Guzman was paying the military to fight for him?" Mr. Lichtman asked.
Yes, Cifuentes said.
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