Spain’s Supreme Court agreed to extradite Emilio Lozoya, the former Pemex chief accused of bribery, fraud, and money laundering in Mexico.
Spanish magistrates decided Lozoya’s case fulfills all the requirements needed to process his extradition. On June 29, Emilio Lozoya Austin sent a document to the court, where he agrees to his extradition to Mexico.
The extradition process started on February 12, when Spanish authorities arrested him in Málaga.
After analyzing the case, the Spanish judges decided Lozoya’s extradition would be simplified and Mexican authorities do not need further authorizations to transport the former Pemex chief to Mexico.
Now, authorities must notify the Interpol within three days so that the Mexican citizen is extradited. Therefore, extradition could take place this week.
Lozoya is expected to travel from Madrid to Mexico City. He will be handcuffed and monitored by two Mexican agents at all times, although Mexico could also transport him on a private flight.
Mexican authorities have accused Lozoya Austin of fraud and criminal association, as well as money laundering.
The alleged fraud took place when Pemex purchased a fertilizer plant and when Lozoya received around USD 10.6 million from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Javier Coello Trejo, Lozoya’s lawyer in Mexico, announced he would no longer represent the former Pemex chief because they have differences regarding the defense strategy.
President López Obrador says Emilio Lozoya has offered to talk
On July 5, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the former Pemex chief has offered to talk about corruption at the state-owned oil company.
López Obrador said Emilio Lozoya “has offered to talk,” adding “it is going to be very interesting for this man to tell how much money he received and how the money was distributed.”
The investigations involve alleged bribes paid by the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht and the 2015 purchase of a fertilizer plant by Pemex at an inflated price.
Spanish police arrested Lozoya Austin in Malaga in February on an international warrant issued by Mexico.
In late 2016, Odebrecht reached an agreement with American, Brazilian, and Swiss authorities to pay millions of dollars in penalties. As part of that agreement, Odebrecht revealed details of bribes across several countries. It said it paid USD 10.5 million to officials at Pemex between 2010 and 2014. Lozoya has denied taking bribes.
The scandal grew in late 2017 when a series of videos of statements by former Odebrecht executives were released, including its former Mexico director, Luis de Meneses. They directly implicated Lozoya, who in 2012 had been a key member of Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign.
While the Odebrecht revelations led to a wave of corruption investigations and arrests across Latin America, Emilio Lozoya is the first Mexican arrested in relation to the scandal.
Emilio Lozoya: Odebrecht, AHMSA & Agro Nitrogenados
According to a document released by Spanish authorities, Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA) allegedly bribed Emilio Lozoya so that the company would be granted Pemex contracts. Lozoya then allegedly used this money to purchase a luxurious home. Alonso Ancira, the head of AHMSA, fled to Spain and was later arrested; however, he didn’t agree to his extradition.
In December 2013, Lozoya proposed the purchase of fertilizer plant Agro Nitrogenados, which was owned by Alonso Ancira.
The fertilizer plant was useless and reports warned against the purchase; however, Pemex went ahead with the operation and purchased it for USD 264 million and later invested USD 450 million to rehabilitate the plant.
In 2012, Emilio Lozoya allegedly asked Odebretch for money to support the PRI’s presidential campaign.
Odebretch allegedly gave Lozoya USD 4.5 million between April and November 2012. Some of the resources were supposedly used to purchase a home in Guerrero for USD 1.9 million.