Odebrecht scandal – In Mexico, the former boss of Pemex detained

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Emilio Lozoya, the former boss of the powerful oil company Pemex, was taken into custody on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the Odebrecht scandal.

The ex-boss of the all-powerful Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex, Emilio Lozoya, was taken into custody on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the scandal Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant who distributed bribes in return markets in several Latin American countries.

Emilio Lozoya was arrested in Spain in 2020 and then extradited to Mexico in July of the same year. He had left free, but this measure was canceled by a judge at the request of the prosecution who feared another flight of Emilio Lozoya, said judicial sources.

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Aged 46, Emilio Lozoya led Pemex between 2012 and 2016, during the tenure of former president Enrique Peña Nieto, with whom he was a friend and close collaborator. According to the prosecution, Emilio Lozoya acknowledged that 4.4 million dollars (4 million francs) disbursed by Odebrecht in Mexico financed the presidential campaign of Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012.

Preventive prison

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The former head of Pemex has assured in the past that he followed instructions from Enrique Peña Nieto, according to statements that leaked to the press in August 2020 from a judicial source. During Wednesday’s hearing, Emilio Lozoya proclaimed his innocence.

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The prosecution considered that he had “not respected” the obligations linked to his status as the main witness in the Obedrecht case, and requested preventive prison in the face of the “risk of absconding”. The prosecution has upheld the charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption against Emilio Lozoya, who faces up to 30 years in prison. At the beginning of October, Emilio Lozoya was seen in a luxurious Chinese restaurant in Lomas, a chic district of the capital. The photo had caused anger in the media and on social networks.

Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) is a flagship of the country’s economy – the 15th largest in the world – resulting from the expropriation of American and British companies by President Lazaro Cardenas in 1938. The Odebrecht affair is affecting many Latin American countries , where investigations were opened locally in connection with Brazilian justice (Venezuela and Dominican Republic among others).

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