17 | AGO | 2019
Former Pemex director is accused of money laundering, fraud, and bribery
Emilio Lozoya is accused of bribery, fraud, and money laundering - Photo: Henry Romero/REUTERS

Former Pemex director is accused of money laundering, fraud, and bribery

29/05/2019
15:57
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
Reuters
-A +A
Emilio Lozoya's lawyer said former President Enrique Peña Nieto should testify on what he knew about Pemex’s operations

Emilio Lozoya Austin was very close to former President Enrique Peña Nieto and was appointed as Pemex's executive director on December 4, 2012, and until February 8, 2016, when he was replaced by José Antonio González Anaya.

Emilio Lozoya has been linked to the Odebrecht case, as he allegedly received a USD $10.5 million bribe from the Brazilian company that was used for Peña Nieto's presidential campaign in 2012. For this, there are two ongoing investigations against him at the Attorney General's Office and the FEPADE.

The Mexican government has punished the former executive director of state oil firm Pemex for the misuse of public funds in the purchase of fertilizer business Fertinal, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Last Wednesday, the Public Administration Ministry announced that Lozoya was barred from holding public office for 10 years.

After it was announced that Emilio Lozoya was banned from working in the government for a decade, on May 28 Emilio Lozoya and Altos Hornos de Mexico, a steel company, were declared blocked; therefore, the Finance Ministry's Financial Intelligence Unit was able to freeze their bank accounts.

The Financial Intelligence Unit implemented this measure after identifying that “multiple operations were identified in the domestic and international financial system that was carried out with resources that allegedly do not come from lawful activities and which are presumed to have derived from acts of corruption.”

The relationship between Altos Hornos de México and Pemex was criticized, after Pemex burned through USD $665 million at its fertilizer unit, ignored consultants and made high-risk investments with no discernible business strategy, the official report said.

Nevertheless, Javier Coello Trejo, Lozoya's lawyer, claimed they haven't been officially notified about the blocking of Lozoya's bank accounts.

Altos Hornos de México said the move was “unprecedented, arbitrary and violated (its) rights” and that it would defend its rights.

Later that day, rumors began circulating, claiming the federal government had issued an arrest warrant against Emilio Lozoya. Later that day, Lozoya's legal team filed a protection measure, amparo, to learn if there was an arrest warrant against Lozoya or not.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Javier Coello confirmed that he filed an amparo to protect his client. The lawyer said he talked to his client, who is still in the country and who is upset because he has been accused of corruption for the last two years.

On late Tuesday, Mexican authorities raided the home of Emilio Lozoya in Lomas de Bezares, in Mexico City. The home was allegedly bought using illicit resources.
 

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Moreover, non-government organization Mexicans Against Corruption said Lozoya bought the 1,165-square-meter home in the upscale Mexico City neighborhood of Las Lomas for USD $2.9 million, the same amount of money he and his sister were allegedly wired in December 2012 from Switzerland by Odebrecht.

In 2016, Odebrecht executives detailed they paid millions of dollars to Lozoya in a videotaped sworn testimony leaked to investigative news site Quinto Elemento Lab, which is now available online.

On May 29, the Attorney General confirmed it has issued an arrest warrant against Lozoya after allegations surfaced about his role in the purchase of a struggling fertilizer business by Pemex, as well as his dealings with Odebrecht.

Alonso Ancina, the owner of Altos Hornos de México, was detained in Spain yesterday, who the government accuses of paying Lozoya bribes.

It was later revealed that Lozoya is wanted for money laundering, bribery, and fraud.

Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz has not detailed the case against Lozoya but said it had been in preparation for months.

Lozoya's lawyer said his “client didn't even sign the contract and noted that the ministries of finance, economy, and energy all sit on the company’s board and that the government had to sign off on whatever Pemex did. He also affirmed top officials from the previous administration, including former President Enrique Peña Nieto, should testify on what they knew about Pemex’s operations.

This morning, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz said the actions of Pemex’s board at the time of the fertilizer plant purchase would need to be analyzed during the probe. That could raise questions about the role of senior officials in the previous administration because of various ministries’ representation on Pemex’s board.

A few hours after his first declarations, Emilio Lozoya's lawyer announced the former Pemex official had been granted a provisional suspension, therefore, he won't be arrested. The suspension will stay in place until June 4, when a judge will decide if Lozoya is granted a definitive suspension or if it is denied to him.

A few hours ago, Mexico's Attorney General asked the Interpol to issue a red notice to look for and detain Emilio Lozoya Austin for bribery, money laundering, and fraud.

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Mexican government blacklists former Pemex executive director

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