MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will not slow any possible criminal investigation into former President Enrique Pena Nieto given the “independence and autonomy” of the attorney general’s office, he told reporters on Friday.
Local news media this week published excerpts of a request by the attorney general for an arrest warrant for a senior aide to Pena Nieto. The document included accusations that the former president ordered top officials in his government to pay bribes to lawmakers.
Reuters was not immediately able to independently confirm the authenticity of the document. Last month, Lopez Obrador confirmed that a request for a warrant for Luis Videgaray, Pena Nieto’s former finance and foreign minister, had been made, but said it had apparently been rejected by a judge.
Asked if he might stop a corruption inquiry into his predecessor, Lopez Obrador said, “no, I can’t do that.
“The investigation would have to be carried out, and judges will determine if (Pena Nieto) should be tried or if he can be tried under the current legal framework,” he added.
Lopez Obrador has long insisted that the country’s attorney general, who is a political appointee, is independent and controls all aspects of criminal investigations and prosecutions.
During the first two years of his six-year term, the leftist president has made combating graft a top priority, and has signaled his support for a referendum next year that would pave the way for former presidents to stand trial.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Raul Cortes Fernandez; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Jonathan Oatis)