Mexico City — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday his government will investigate allegations bribes were paid by the U.S. subsidiary of the world’s largest independent oil trader Vitol to state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
Lopez Obrador, speaking at a news conference, said the accusations by the U.S. Justice Department related to bribes allegedly paid to Pemex employees in exchange for multi-million dollar contracts.
“It’s under investigation and if true, those responsible will be punished. We’re not covering up for anyone,” he said.
The bribes allegedly took place during the administration of Lopez Obrador and under Mexico’s previous president, Enrique Pena Nieto, according to Mexican newspaper Reforma.
Vitol’s U.S. unit agreed last week to pay $164 million to resolve probes by the U.S. government that the firm paid bribes in Mexico and other Latin American countries to boost its oil trading business, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Swiss company Vitol, run out of London, trades some 8 million barrels of oil a day.
(Reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez; Editing by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Angus MacSwan)