Mexican President Lopez Obrador says unaware of probe into ex-President Pena Nieto

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday said he is not aware of an investigation into his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, after a media report that law enforcement authorities are probing the former leader.

“There is no investigation that I know of against the former president Pena Nieto,” Lopez Obrador said in his daily morning press conference. “I don’t have information about this investigation.”

But Lopez Obrador, who assumed the presidency on Dec. 2018, added that Mexico’s attorney general’s office was independent and does not have to keep him in the loop with all the investigations taking place.

“The prosecutor is autonomous, which means that it does not inform me, they do not have to do so,” he added.

Wall Street Journal, citing a judicial source, on Wednesday reported law enforcement authorities were probing Pena Nieto as part of an inquiry into corruption case of Emilio Lozoya, the former chief executive of Mexico’s state oil firm Petróleos Mexicanos [PEMX.UL], or Pemex.

Lozoya is accused of corruption related to a wide-ranging bribery and money-laundering case involving Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL.] Lozoya, who was arrested in Spain last week, has denied wrongdoing.

Lopez Obrador said that while he does not wish to defend Pena Nieto, he also does not “want us to be stuck in the past”.

(The story corrects surname of ex-President Pena Nieto)

Reporting by Drazen Jorgic, Editing by Franklin Paul