Ever since taking office, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has stressed that he is disinclined to target former Mexican presidents tainted by accusations of wrongdoing, even though he has made the eradication of political corruption of one of his chief goals.
That position may change following stunning revelations by Emilio Lozoya, the former Pemex oil company chief executive, that ex President Enrique Peña Nieto accepted millions of dollars in bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.
Following his recent extradition from Spain on charges of corruption, Lozoya has been forthright with prosecutors, detailing how he was ordered by Peña Nieto and Finance Minister Luis Videgaray to funnel around $US4 million from the Odebrecht slush fund into the 2012 presidential election campaign. Once in office, Lozoya alleges, Peña Nieto used more of Odebrecht’s cash to bribe opposition lawmakers into voting for his energy reform package. (Some skeptical commentators have wondered why these lawmakers would need to be bribed since they belong to the conservative National Action Party, whose ideological inclination is to support private investment in Mexico’s energy sector – one of the key facets of Peña Nieto’s 2013 reforms.)