Former PEMEX boss arrives in Mexico on bribery charges

Mexico City (AFP)

The former boss of Mexican oil giant PEMEX arrived in Mexico early Friday, a source at the capital’s airport said, after being extradited from Spain on charges of graft worth millions of dollars.

Emilio Lozoya is charged with managing $4 million in bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which has admitted paying huge sums to politicians across Latin America to win lucrative contracts.

Former PEMEX boss Emilio Lozoya being transferred to a Spanish police van on February 13, 2020
Former PEMEX boss Emilio Lozoya being transferred to a Spanish police van on February 13, 2020 JORGE GUERRERO AFP/File

Lozoya is also accused of authorizing PEMEX’s acquisition of a rundown fertilizer factory for $500 million, a price prosecutors considered suspiciously high.

His plane touched down in Mexico City soon after midnight, the source told AFP.

About a dozen police officers arrived at the airport to prepare his transfer to a prison in the capital’s north.

Lozoya, who headed the state oil company from 2012 to 2016, agreed to his extradition from Spain at the end of last month and is willing to collaborate with the courts, Mexico’s attorney general has said.

The 45-year-old allegedly took bribes from Odebrecht starting in March 2012, when he was chief international strategist for politician Enrique Pena Nieto, who was later elected president.

Part of the money was allegedly used to finance Nieto’s campaign. Lozoya denies the accusations against him.

Odebrecht, the largest construction firm in Latin America, has admitted to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to win contracts in 12 countries, including Mexico.

The scandal has brought down ex-presidents and top officials in countries including Brazil, Peru and Colombia.

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