Mr López Obrador took the case seriously after winning a landslide victory in 2018, as prosecutors focused on a $ 3.6 million transfer to a shell company linked to Mr Lozoya, which, according to them, was facilitated by Odebrecht. After fleeing the country, Mr. Lozoya was arrested in Spain in February and extradited to Mexico, where he is cooperating with the authorities.
He said the millions distributed to campaign advisers under the leadership of Mr Peña Nieto and Mr Videgaray came from bribes paid by Odebrecht, according to the attorney general.
The investigation could strengthen an administration that is in desperate need of a political victory. Mr López Obrador remains popular here, but his poll count has declined amid a pandemic that has left more than 53,000 dead and millions out of work. Congressional elections will be held next year and the president’s party will have to fight to retain control over the legislature.
But making such explosive charges public before formal charges are laid carries its own risks. Mexican prosecutors are used to messing up high-level investigations and using them for political gain, and if the new disclosures are mismanaged or lead nowhere, it could harm the president in the long run, analysts said. .
“It worries at least some of us that the president only wants to win the election and not really investigate corruption,” said Esteban Illades, a columnist for the newspaper. “He definitely needs a win because we are on the road to 60,000 deaths here in Mexico.”
Mr López Obrador has repeatedly expressed his skepticism about the prosecution of former presidents and suggested at a press conference on Wednesday that he would call for a referendum before prosecuting Mr Peña Nieto. He also appeared to downplay the consequences of the allegations.
“If it was just a statement, without proof, it has no legal, and I would say, social and moral value,” said López Obrador. “There must be supporting evidence, evidence, witnesses. There is apparently a video, I would like to see it, like all Mexicans.
Paulina Villegas contributed reporting.