Odebrecht: Emilio Lozoya becomes the first Mexican to testify in connection with the bribery scandal

Federal prosecutors accused Lozoya of bribery, criminal association, and money laundering

Odebrecht: Emilio Lozoya becomes the first Mexican to testify in connection with the bribery scandal
Enrique Peña Nieto appointed Emilio Lozoya as the head of Pemex in 2012 - Photo: Juan Boites/EL UNIVERSAL
English 29/07/2020 13:37 Mexico City Actualizada 12:39
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Yesterday, authorities confirmed Emilio Lozoya’s hearing concerning his involvement in the Odebrecht case would take place today at 9:30 AM.

Federal prosecutors have accused the former Pemex chief of bribery, criminal association, and money laundering.

Due to his recent hospitalization, Lozoya Austin will appear before a judge through a videoconference.

The hearing is private and authorities will inform the press through WhatsApp.

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Last night, a federal judge bound Emilio Lozoya Austin over to trial over money-laundering charges. Prosecutors argue the former Pemex chief used the bribes he obtained through the purchase of fertilizer plant Agronitrogenados to purchase a luxurious home in Mexico City.

Meanwhile, Lozoya will remain at the hospital under police custody, instead of jail.

Emilio Lozoya’s Odebrecht hearing: Live Updates

This morning, Emilio Lozoya became the first former official to appear before a judge for his involvement in the Odebrecht case in Mexico.

A federal judge, Lozoya, his defense team, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Financial Intelligence Unit are present at the videoconference.

According to prosecutors, Lozoya allegedly received resources to finance Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign from Odebrecht. 

During today’s hearing, the former government official asked the judge to seal his personal information during the legal proceedings. From now on, the judge will refer to him as “ERLA.”

The defense team informed the judge that since the defendant agreed to his extradition, he has the intention to cooperate with federal prosecutors and asked the judge to dismiss the arrest warrant against him for his involvement in the Odebrecht case. 

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office argued that Lozoya exceeded the number of investments in different countries, mainly in Europe.
 
So far, prosecutors have made shocking claims. According to Mexican authorities, Emilio Lozoya often met with Luis Alberto de Meneses, the former Odebrecht director in Mexico, to discuss the restructuring of several projects in Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Hidalgo.

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Furthermore, FGR officials claim the former Pemex chief offered Luis Alberto de Meneses Weyll a government job if Enrique Peña Nieto won the 2012 election.

Moreover, when Emilio Lozoya was working on Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign, he tried to cancel several transactions. The resources were transferred to his mother and sister.

Prosecutors insist that Lozoya helped Luis Alberto de Meneses to obtain public contracts in exchange for bribes.

The Attorney General’s Office added that Emilio Lozoya Austin requested money from Odebrecht in exchange for arranging meetings with businessmen and help to obtain contracts during Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration.

Once again, the former Pemex chief has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

Also, for the first time, he recognized he is looking to reach a plea bargain with Mexican authorities or become a cooperating witness.

He said he instructed his defense team in Spain “to speed up my extradition as a voluntary act (…) to fulfill my commitment to collaborate with Mexican authorities in the context of a possible plea bargain or another agreement determined by the authorities.”

Lozoya said he will denounce and reveal the name of those who are responsible for the crimes he is accused of.

After the shocking statements, the FGR asked the judge to bound Lozoya over for trial over fraud and illicit association charges. 

After a 10-minute break, prosecutors stated that Odebrecht obtained USD 39 million through several government contracts arranged by the former Pemex chief.

The Attorney General's Office explained that according to information provided by Brazil's protected witnesses, the construction company obtained millions by paying bribes to government officials in order to obtain government contracts.

Between 2011 and 2014, Odebrecht paid USD 10.5 million in bribes to obtain contracts in Mexico.

Luis de Meneses Weyll, the former Odebrecht director in Mexico, Lozoya requested bribes to arrange meetings with several businessmen. 

Lozoya allegedly received bribes through a bank account in Switzerland. 

Authorities added that Luis Alberto De Meneses and Lozoya designed a series of irregular plans and said that Lozoya "thanked Luis de Meneses and his collaborators for their support in Enrique Peña Nieto's campaign" several times.

Lozoya Austin asked the judge to define his legal situation concerning the Odebrecht case today.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reacts

The Mexican President said Emilio Lozoya will receive certain benefits as a cooperating witness, who will reveal the will provide crucial information regarding corruption cases during the previous administration and those involved. 
 
When questioned over whether the former Pemex chief will end up in prison, López Obrador said there is an ongoing trial and that there is an agreement to reveal all those named in the investigation against Lozoya. 
 
The Mexican President Lozoya’s cases, Agronitrogenados and Odebrecht, are important because Mexicans will finally learn who received bribes.
 
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