back to top
World

This Is The Latest Link Between Mexico's President And Latin America's Biggest Corruption Scandal

A businessman under investigation for corruption spent an awful lot of time embedded with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's presidential campaign.

Posted on

A businessman under investigation for corruption accompanied Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's presidential campaign "full-time," a new investigation released on Monday revealed.

Marco Ugarte / AP

The connection between Carlos Fadigas — a former director of Braskem, the petrochemical subsidiary of Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht — and Peña Nieto was first published in a report from Mexican NGO Mexicanos Contra La Corrupción.

Odebrecht is accused of giving money illegally to politicians — from the local level up to the presidency — in several Latin American countries.

Rodrigo Buendia / AFP / Getty Images

Under the scheme, which has shaken Latin American politics to its core, Odebrecht collected favors once its preferred candidates took office, becoming one of the favorite contractors of the governments its backed.

The repercussions are still trickling out, but in Peru at least, former president Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia are in prison for taking bribe money from Odebrecht and other companies.

The president of the company, Marcelo Odebrecht, is in prison in Brazil along with several of his employees who have testified about the nature of the bribery scheme.

Afp / AFP / Getty Images

One of those employees said that he deposited more than 40 million pesos (about $2.1 million) into an account in the Virgin Islands linked with Emilio Lozoya, then international coordinator of the Peña Nieto campaign.

Lozoya later became director of Pemex, Mexico's state-run oil company, and is currently the subject of an investigation for allegedly accepting bribes from Odebrecht.

Advertisement

According to documents Mexicanos Contra La Corrupción consulted for its investigation, the Odebrecht subsidiary Fadigas was in charge of transferred $1.5 million to a company linked to Lozoya during the Peña Nieto campaign.

Google

At the time, Braskem was building a new plant to produce ethylene — the base of ethanol — in Veracruz, a state that was then led by Javier Duarte, a former PRI official who was recently arrested and accused of diverting public resources.

The investigation also revealed that Peña Nieto met with Odebrecht executives on at least four occasions.

MCCI

One meeting occurred when he was governor of the State of Mexico, in 2010; another in October 2011, when he was campaigning to be PRI's candidate for president; another in 2012 as president-elect; and one more as president in Los Pinos in 2013.

But everyone involved in this latest revelation has denied any wrongdoing.

Alfredo Estrella / AFP / Getty Images

Both Emilio Lozoya, the former director of Pemex, and Braskem have denied that they were linked to any acts of corruption. Peña Nieto's office did not immediately respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment on the report.

The Odabrecht scandal has caused protests and prosecutions alike against politicians in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.

Erika Santelices / AFP / Getty Images

However, in Mexico, the investigation has not advanced as much as in other countries, where sentences have already been handed down. Just last week Santiago Nieto, a prosecutor investigating the case, was dismissed after publishing a letter in which Lozoya demanded that he be declared innocent.

This post was translated from Spanish.

Contact Maurizio Montes de Oca at maurizio.mdo@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.