Emilio Lozoya, former Pemex director, arrested in Spain

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Feb 13, 2020 – Emilo Lozoya, ex CEO of Mexico’s oil company Pemex was arrested in Malaga, Spain following an arrest warrant issued by Mexico’s Public Prosecutor’s Office in relation to a corruption investigation linked to Brazilian company Odebrecht for 280 million dollars.

According to the New York Times, the arrest delivers a boost to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico in his fight to curb the nation’s endemic corruption.

Lozoya was arrested two days after arriving in Spain from Moscow, and according to Politica Online, he was to meet with his friend, former president Enrique Peña Nieto. Spanish newspaper, El Pais reported that at the time of the arrest, Lozoya was using a fake Mexican Driver’s License under the name Jonathan Solís Fuentes.”

The former director of the oil company had set up a network with his relatives to defraud Mexico’s public sectors
using Tax evasion, racketeering, and illegal campaign financing. Lozoya allegedly awarded public contracts in exchange for millionaire bribes he used to enriched himself.

The well-known international Odebrecht case could potentially reach higher-up former government officials
involved in a network of conspiracy and corruption that involves the far-right PRI party, the Electoral Institute INE, and even the ex-president Enrique Peña Nieto himself.

Processo news agency wrote in an article that Odebrecht gave Lozoya 10 million dollars in 2012 when he was responsible for international liaison team, and also campaign manager of the then PRI candidate Peña Nieto. Processo explains there are indications that several million dollars, from Odebrecht, went to the
Peña Nieto’s campaign, coordinated by Luis Videgaray who later on became secretary of Treasury under Pena Nieto.

The news agency Animal Politico reported that the company Braskem, a petrochemical subsidiary of
Odebrecht, accompanied “full-time” the presidential campaign of Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012, according to Carlos Fadigas, who in those days was the director of the company and today is an informer before the
Brazilian justice department to clarify the gigantic case of international corruption known as ‘Lava Jato’.
Last May, Interpol put Mr. Lozoya on a list of fugitives wanted internationally.

In July, the German police detained his mother, Gilda Margarita Austin, after the Mexican judiciary accused her
of helping to launder money from Mexico’s oil company Pemex. She was deported to Mexico and, in November, a judge confined her to house arrest pending the outcome of her trial on money laundering

According to news reports, after Peña Nieto won the presidency in 2012, with accusations of electoral fraud by
his opponent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Odebrecht executives visited president Pena Nieto at his residence Los Pinos several times.

In 2018, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador overwhelmingly won the Presidency; by then the Odebrecht scandal already reached several countries and involved government officials amd presidents, some are under investigation, arrested, and in the case of Peru, former President, Alan García, took his own life after a arrest warrant was issue for him.

Right after President Lopez Obrador won, Lozoya fled Mexico and according to the newspaper El Universal, he was hiding in Moscow.

According to the New York Times, Lozoya also has to answer to German authorities where he opened dozens of
shadow companies, and other properties all over Europe.

Some news media reports speculate that perhaps, that’s why Lozoya was arrested in Spain. Especially after
Russia’s foreign affairs minister, Sergey Lavrov, began communications with his counterpart, Marcelo Ebrard last week. Within a few days of Lavrov visit to Mexico city, Lozoya had fled Moscow. Then went to Germany to later arrive in Spain, where he was arrested by the National Police in coordination with Mexico’s Justice Department.

Spain’s National Police put out a communique on twiter explaining that thanks to “the excellent relationship between the Mexican Public Prosecutor’s Office and Spain’s National Police” the arrest was possible — adding an ID photo of Lozoya to the tweet.

Mexico’s Attorney General, Alejandro Gertz Manero, confirmed the arrest for the purpose of extradition of Lozoya
in Spain, and his office put out a tweet, as well.

After the arrest of Lozoya, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit agency (UIF), Santiago Nieto, said the
agency has filed four complaints against Lozoya, who is the former official of ex-President Peña Nieto’s government. The corruption charges stem from Lozoya’s involvement in multiple fertilizer factories, the
Odebrecht scandal, and other investigations for tax fraud.

“We must recognize the great work of Dr. Gertz Manero (Mexico’s Attorney General) for the steps taken in order to bring those responsible for the corruption cases to court. These actions were taken to meet President @Lopezobrador_ objective of zero tolerance with corruption & impunity.” said Nieto in an interview in
the Senate.

Sources Proceso, Animal Pollito, El Pais

Featured Image credit (Emilo Lozoya as he was arrested by Spanish Police): BBC

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