Former Pemex director Lozoya arrested in Spain

Emilio Lozoya, former Pemex chief. (PHOTO:

Former Pemex director Emilio Lozoya was arrested in Spain today, Mexico’s attorney general said.

Lozoya, chief executive of Pemex from 2012-2016, has been on the run since May of last year following the issue of an arrest warrant in relation to a corruption investigation linked to scandal-hit Brazilian company Odebrecht.

Lozoya is being investigated for allegedly receiving bribes from Odebrecht in return for awarding contracts during his tenure at the oil company.

According to an international settlement reached in December 2016, Odebrecht admitted to having paid $788mn in bribes in exchange for business in 12 countries across Latin America and Africa from 2001-2016. That includes almost $10.5mn paid to unidentified Mexican government officials to secure public works contracts from 2010-2014.

Lozoya has been banned from holding public office for ten years and is also being investigated for his role in Pemex’s purchase of a defunct fertilizer plant from AHMSA at what federal auditors said was an inflated price. Investigators are also looking into the purchase of Grupo Fertinal, a struggling fertilizer company that Pemex bought for Ps620mn ($32mn), despite being valued at much less.

AHMSA owner Alonso Ancira was arrested in Mallorca, Spain, on 28 May last year and later extradited to Mexico.

While Lozoya has been on the run, other members of his family, including his mother Gilda Austin, have been charged with money laundering.

Lozoya maintains his innocence and says he is the victim of political persecution.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to stamp out rampant corruption in Pemex and across government.

The Yucatan Times