Swiss bank informed Mexico about Emilio Lozoya’s suspicious transactions in 2017

Latin America Asia Latin Bank launched an investigation regarding suspicious transactions

Swiss bank informed Mexico about Emilio Lozoya’s suspicious transactions in 2017
Swiss bank investigated Emilio and Gilda Lozoya Austin - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 02/08/2020 13:01 Mexico City Actualizada 13:07
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A private bank based in Switzerland launched an investigation against Emilio Lozoya Austin in 2012 after it registered unusual transactions worth millions in a bank account linked to Lozoya and his sister. In 2017, the bank informed Enrique Peña Nieto’s government about the investigation but it didn’t take action against the former Pemex chief.

Latin America Asia Latin Bank launched an investigation regarding suspicious transactions between June and November 2012. The operations were made through an account for Tochos Holding Limited, which was owned by Gilda Lozoya Austin.

The Attorney General’s Office (FGR) revealed this information during Lozoya’s hearing concerning Agronitrogenados. In this case, federal prosecutors accused Lozoya of taking millions in bribes to approve the purchase of a fertilizer plant by Pemex. In the end, a judge bound the former Pemex chief over for trial. 
According to the FGR, when Mexican authorities launched an investigation in connection with the Odebrecht case, authorities started to investigate Lozoya’s finances. Former Odebrecht officials said they had bribed Emilio Lozoya and financed the PRI’s 2012 electoral campaign. 

After tracing the money, the lines of inquiry took authorities to Switzerland. Since then, Mexico has requested information regarding Lozoya’s finances to the European country. 

Back then, Switzerland informed Mexico about the 2012 investigation. It was launched after businessman Alonso Ancira, the owner of Altos Hornos de México, transferred USD 3 million from a bank account in Coahuila to Tochos Holding Limited’s account in Switzerland. From July 1, 2003, and until February 28, 2012, Lozoya has the account’s owner, although his sister Gilda Susana Lozoya Austin later became the beneficiary.

Federal prosecutors said that when the private bank based in Switzerland registered the transaction, Gilda Lozoya “was a student; therefore she wasn’t apt to represent that bank account because of the resources managed by it but instead of halting the relationship, the bank launched an exhaustive investigation.”

Nevertheless, authorities didn’t file a lawsuit against Emilio Lozoya, Gilda Lozoya, and Alonso Ancira until 2018, when the Financial Intelligence Unit gathered all the financial information it needed. 

During Lozoya’s hearing, prosecutors said Ancira transferred money to Tochos Holding on five different occasions. The transactions amounted to USD 500,000; USD 1 million; USD 1 million, USD 100,000, and USD 800,000.

Besides issuing a report for suspicious transactions, the bank notified both Emilio and Gilda Lozoya that the bank account was under investigation. As a result, Gilda Lozoya used the bank account to transfer MXN 34,234,000 to purchase a home in Polanco, Mexico City. The home is under Emilio Lozoya’s name.

Prosecutors make explosive claims

The Attorney General’s Office said Emilio Lozoya Austin and Alonso Ancira agreed that once Lozoya was appointed as Pemex’s executive director by Enrique Peña Nieto, he would help Ancira to sell the Agronitrogenados fertilizer plant to Pemex for a higher price than its real value. In exchange for this, Ancira allegedly transferred millions to Tochos Holding.

With the bribes provided by Ancira, Lozoya acquired a property in Mexico City. The home was previously owned by María del Carmen Ampudia Cárdenas.

During the hearing, prosecutors announced they would investigate Ampudia Cárdenas’ financial records and that they will request other countries to help them obtain financial records regarding Lozoya’s bank accounts in the Virgin Islands.

According to the FGR, the operation to purchase Agronitrogenados cost Mexico USD 8,096 million. They added that the debt Pemex acquired to purchase the fertilizer plant continues to increase.

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