Judge determines that the prisoner is at high risk of escaping; as the prosecution argues that he has enough economic resources and family support to flee the country anytime.
MEXICO, (November 04, 2021).- After more than a year of having been provisionally released, yesterday a federal judge ordered Emilio Lozoya Austin, former director of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), to remain subject to justified preventive detention in the North Prison.
Control Judge José Artemio Zúñiga granted the change of precautionary measure requested by the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) in the Odebrecht case, considering that Lozoya has access to economic resources, has a national and international family network, and that the penalty he may face is more than 30 years in prison, so there is a high risk of escape.
The decision was issued yesterday during a hearing that lasted more than five hours, in which, for the first time, the former official appeared physically at the Federal Criminal Justice Center of the Reclusorio Norte and in which his mother and co-accused, Gilda Margaret Austin, also appeared.
To support its request, the FGR affirmed that the conditions for which the former director of Pemex was granted provisional release for more than a year have already changed.
This, because last August the prosecution received the translation of the statements of a bank account in Newbank, in Liechtenstein, in the name of Zecapan, SA, whose headquarters are in the Virgin Islands and which was the recipient of resources from an offshore firm based in Brazil.
Between February and March 2014 that bank account received from the offshore 5 million 951 thousand dollars, which in November of that same year were exchanged for 4 million 517 thousand euros; of that money, a transfer of 2 million euros was made to an account of JF Holding, SA, a company of which Lozoya Austin declared to be a shareholder.
Therefore, he considered that the former official has access to those 2 million euros. Likewise, the FGR indicated that Lozoya Austin could have the help of a family network that would allow him to flee the country and escape from justice. This “network” is made up of family members in national territory and abroad.
The FGR added that an example of this help network is the images of Lozoya Austin having dinner at the Hunan restaurant.
“With little procedural modesty, he was shown chatting in a luxurious restaurant (…) This shows that he has access to this entire network,” said the FGR. “It is scandalous and ominous that he was seen in that restaurant.”
He stressed that in two of the crimes for which he is accused in the Odebrecht case – bribery and money laundering – the amounts charged are $ 6 million and $ 1,385,000, which, despite the fact that he has requested a criterion of opportunity, it has not tried to cover as repair of the damage.
“The accused has always manifested a violent, reticent, evasive, and rude attitude towards the authority,” added the prosecution.
“This attitude denotes the intention to hinder the progress of the procedural sequel. He seeks at all costs to continue enjoying the freedom he has without assuming the obligations that come with being prosecuted, ” the judge said.
He also specified that although the defense has requested the criterion of opportunity, the FGR has already made the decision to formally accuse the former director of Pemex. The legal representatives of the oil company and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) agreed that, in addition to the fact that Lozoya Austin has not guaranteed the repair of the damage in the Odebrecht case, the dinner in the Hunan was a lack of respect and a provocation towards society.
The defense of the former official, led by the lawyer Miguel Ontiveros, countered and asked the judge to assess the possibility of subjecting Lozoya Austin to house arrest, as he affirmed that there is a total willingness to repair the damage and to continue collaborating with the prosecution to accuse other persons participating in acts of corruption.
To repair the damage, the defense offered at that time two houses of the Lozoya Austin family and gave the oil company and the FGR simple copies of the property deeds.
However, Judge José Artemio Zúñiga observed that since last year, when Lozoya Austin was linked to the process, there were conditions to subject him to justified preventive detention, but that, mainly due to the talks on the criteria of opportunity requested by the accused, the FGR decided not to request this measure.
Source: El Universal