The Attorney General’s Office investigates Pemex’s former Board of Directors in connection with the purchase of Agronitrogenados

EL UNIVERSAL revealed the Attorney General’s Office will ask former board members to testify

The Attorney General’s Office investigates Pemex’s former Board of Directors in connection with the purchase of Agronitrogenados
Pedro Joaquín Coldwell and Enrique Ochoa Reza were part of Pemex’s Board of Directors - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 06/08/2020 16:19 Diana Lastiri Mexico City Actualizada 16:29
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The Attorney General’s Office (FGR) is currently investigating Pemex’s former Board of Directors. Authorities argue the board members were involved in the purchase of fertilizer plant Agronitrogenados.

Insiders said the FGR receive a lawsuit from the Superior Audit Office (ASF) on September 27, 2019, where Emilio Lozoya is not the only official mentioned. 
 
After this, the Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation regarding the purchase of the overprices fertilizer plant. The ASF argues the purchase resulted in the loss of MXN 182.4 million.
 
The investigation continues to this day, although the FGR hasn’t presented it before a federal judge or called on 38 former Pemex officials to testify.

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In the lawsuit filed by the ASF, the government department indicates the purchase was carried out through Grupo PMI, not Pemex Petroquímica, despite the existence of a decree that established the structure, operation, and control of Pemex’s subsidiaries.
 
To carry out the operation, Emilio Lozoya argued the federal government had the urgency to produce fertilizers during a meeting on December 17, 2013. Lozoya told the board members not to oppose the decision to “prevent the consummation of an irregular action.”

The Superior Audit Office explained that “By purchasing (the fertilizer plant) through Grupo PMI, (Lozoya) prevented the Strategy and Investment Committee under Pemex Petroquímica and its Administration Council to learn about the purchase, (although) it is the only company authorized to produce petrochemical products.”

The documents indicate the members of Pemex’s Board of Directors knew about irregular acts and didn’t prevent the purchase of Agronitrogenados. 

In its lawsuit, the ASF identified 38 officials and counselors from Pemex, PMI Holdings, PMI Norteamérica, PMI Infraestructura y Desarrollo, and Pro Agroindustria as those responsible for the operation.

The list includes Emilio Lozoya Austin, Edgar Torres Garrido, José Manuel Carrera Panizzo, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Enrique Ochoa Reza, Leonardo Fabio Beltrán Rodríguez, and Miguel Messmacher Linartas.
 
Recommended: Former Pemex chief Emilio Lozoya pleads not guilty

The ASF explained that the damage caused by the acquisition amounts to USD 93.2 million and that the purchase was finalized without supervising the plant’s conditions. 

Once Pemex purchase Agronitrogenados, authorities found that 60% of the assets were useless. The Mexican government was forced to sell 85 assets after spending MXN 15.5 million on the fertilizer plant. The state-owned company made MXN 16.8 million from the sale, and it lost MXN 182.4 million in total.
 
According to the ASF, “in the investment project presented by Emilio Lozoya on December 17, he considered the rehabilitation would cost USD 180 million, far below the amount revealed by Pemex’s Corporative Board of Operations before the purchase, (which was calculated at) USD 406.4 million, amounts that are below the USD 453.2 million spent until December 2018.”
 
This investigation is different from the one launched by the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 and which resulted in a federal judge bounding Emilio Lozoya over for trial over money-laundering charges. The Agronitrogenados case also involves Alonso Ancira, the businessman who sold the fertilizer plant to Pemex. 

The FGR launched the previous investigation in 2019 when Pemex and the Financial Intelligence Unit (IUF) filed lawsuits. Back then, Joaquín Coldwell asked the FGR to inform him about his ties to the case.

EL UNIVERSAL revealed the Attorney General’s Office will ask former board members to testify, including Joaquín Coldwell, Ildefonso Guajardo, and Luis Videgaray to talk about the purchase of the fertilizer plant.

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