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'Filth': Mexican president blasts purported cash bribes seen in viral video

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An unverified video that appears to show former Mexican congressional staffers counting piles of cash has exposed the “filth” corrupting politics and shows why the last government’s overhaul of the oil and gas market was tainted, Mexico’s president said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a news conference at the presidential hangar, with the presidential plane in the background, at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Romero

The video, which went viral on YouTube on Monday, shows plastic bags filled with cash bundles apparently being given to two then senior Senate staffers who worked for the opposition National Action Party (PAN).

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

In his daily news conference on Tuesday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador showed the full video, and said he wondered if it may have been given to prosecutors by the former chief of state-run oil company Pemex, Emilio Lozoya, who faces bribery charges in a corruption trial that has shaken Mexican politics.

“This video that has come to light is quite strong. It shows the filth of the regime of corruption,” Lopez Obrador said. He said he had no wider knowledge of the video.

Lopez Obrador, who swept to power in 2018 on an anti-corruption platform, has sought to paint former administrations as part of a political elite beholden to the interests of the wealthy business groups.

A leftist who favors state firms to lead energy production, he has also sought to roll back sweeping reforms that were enacted in 2013-2014 to give the private sector a larger role in Mexico’s energy sector.

Lopez Obrador on Monday said the public should see all evidence linked to bribes that he says were paid to lawmakers to aid the passage of those reforms.

Lozoya last week filed a complaint accusing former President Enrique Pena Nieto and a senior aide of ordering a wide-ranging bribery scheme.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Drazen Jorgic, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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