Piles of cash in viral video stoke bribery scandal in Mexico

By David Alire Garcia MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An unverified video showing piles of cash being handed to Mexican congressional staffers went viral on Monday, fueling a corruption scandal that is already convulsing the country even as the clip's source and context remain unclear.

Reuters August 19, 2020 01:11:30 IST
Piles of cash in viral video stoke bribery scandal in Mexico

Piles of cash in viral video stoke bribery scandal in Mexico

By David Alire Garcia

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An unverified video showing piles of cash being handed to Mexican congressional staffers went viral on Monday, fueling a corruption scandal that is already convulsing the country even as the clip's source and context remain unclear.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has made combating graft his top issue, earlier in the day said the public should see all evidence linked to bribes allegedly paid to lawmakers that led to the passage of reforms he opposed.

During his regular morning news conference, he specifically referenced a video introduced as part of sworn testimony in a corruption case in which the former head of Mexico's state-run oil company Pemex has accused Lopez Obrador's predecessor of ordering bribe payments.

Hours later a shaky four-minute clip appeared on YouTube showing plastic bags filled with neatly bundled stacks of cash apparently being turned over to two senior Senate staffers who then worked for the opposition National Action Party, or PAN.

The source of the video remains unclear, as does the date and location it was recorded.

An official with the attorney general's office told Reuters the video was not part of evidence obtained from ex-Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya, who last week filed a complaint accusing his boss, former President Enrique Pena Nieto, and another senior aide of ordering a wide-ranging bribery scheme.

One of the Senate staffers in the video, Guillermo Gutierrez, was promptly fired by tweet from his post as personal secretary to the PAN governor of Queretaro state after the video was released.

Reuters was unable to reach the other staffer, Rafael Caraveo.

The video was posted to a YouTube page created on Sunday under the name of Lozoya's brother, Juan Jesus.

A public relations firm representing Emilio Lozoya said in a statement, though, that their client's brother does not have a YouTube page, and that a criminal complaint would be filed for the appropriation of his identity.

Last week, the attorney general said Lozoya had testified he received more than 100 million pesos ($4.5 million) from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht that was in part used to buy votes in Congress.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying bribes in Mexico.

The signature reform passed by Congress during Pena Nieto's term was an energy overhaul that ended Pemex's monopoly and was bitterly opposed by Lopez Obrador.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Raul Cortes Fernandez; Editing by Tom Hogue)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.