8 July 2019
A judge has ordered the arrest of Emilio Lozoya (picture above), a former head of Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), on a charge of corruption, the Prosecutor General’s Office (FGR) said Friday. He is accused of taking $10m in bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. This is the first arrest in Mexico relating to the sprawling Odebrecht kickbacks.
Mr Lozoya’s wife (Marielle Helene Eckes), sister (Gilda Lozoya), mother (Gilda Austin) and Nelly Aguilera, a real estate tycoon, are wanted in the same corruption case, the prosecutor’s office said. It added that Interpol issued a red notice for all five people. Lozoya’s lawyer said that he was in Mexico and would appear in court under “the right conditions.”
Mr Lozoya was the chief executive of Pemex until 2016 and was also one of the closest advisers to former President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Lozoya went into hiding in May, after another judge ordered his arrest on charges that he misappropriated funds in the purchase of a fertilizer plant during his time as CEO.
The Spanish police, acting on the Mexican Attorney General’s request, arrested Alonso Ancira, owner of Altos Hornos de Mexico S.A., Mexico’s biggest steel producer and the company that sold Pemex the fertilizer plant.
Odebrecht was one of Brazil’s leading construction companies, winning contracts in Latin America, Middle East and Africa. In 2015 its CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht was arrested. At first, he denied corrupt links with politicians. But later in a plea bargain deal he came forward with allegations that are still rocking Latin American politics. The scandal has led to various convictions and investigations in Brazil, Peru and Colombia.