20 | OCT | 2019
Mexican steel tycoon Alonso Ancira arrested in Spain
Last Monday, the company informed through a press release at Mexico’s Stock Market that its accounts had been frozen - Photo: Patricia Juárez

Mexican steel tycoon Alonso Ancira arrested in Spain

29/05/2019
13:03
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
Dave Graham/Reuters
-A +A
Ancira will be brought back to Mexico to face allegations related to the irregular sale of a fertilizer plant to Pemex

Last night, Interpol officials and Spanish authorities arrested Alonso Ancira, head of Mexican steel company Altos Hornos de México, S.A. (AHMSA), in Mallorca, Spain. His extradition was requested by the Mexican government following an investigation by the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF).

The Mexican Embassy in Spain has received an official notice of the businessman's arrest and is now awaiting instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enable the extradition process. Mexico now has 40 days to present all evidence backing Ancira's deliverance to Mexican authorities.

Ancira was imprisoned without bail while he awaits the completion of his extradition process. Spanish authorities are now investigating several properties he owns in the European country.

Mexican authorities detected irregular bank transfers from AHMSA to offshore accounts linked to Brazilian construction company Odebrecht and former Pemex director Emilio Lozoya Austin.

Official sources confirmed that the Mexican businessman had been arrested and would be brought back to Mexico to face allegations related to the irregular sale of a fertilizer plant to Pemex during the management of Emilio Lozoya Austin.

The state oil company paid a premium estimated at around MXN$500 million (USD$26.1 million) for the plant, which was still not operating this year, according to a scathing government audit of the 2017 operations of Pemex.

Last Monday, the company informed through a press release at Mexico’s Stock Market that its accounts had been frozen, as well as those of Lozoya Austin, who now faces charges of fraud, bribery, and money laundering.

This is the result of a first major anti-corruption drive by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that threatens to involve top officials in the last government.

Lozoya has yet to speak publicly on the accusations, but his lawyer said on Wednesday that top officials from the previous administration, including former President Enrique Peña Nieto, should testify on what they knew about Pemex’s operations.

Noting that the ministries of finance, economy, and energy all sit on the company’s board, Lozoya’s attorney Javier Coello said the government had to sign off on whatever Pemex did.

“I would even summon President Peña Nieto,” Coello told broadcaster Televisa. “Nothing in this country moved unless there were instructions from the president.”

Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz has not detailed the case against Lozoya but said it had been in preparation for months. He too said the role played under Peña Nieto by the ministries on Pemex’s board needed to be examined.
 

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