Thu, 24 Sep 2020

Mexico's former oil chief agrees to be extradited

Xinhua
01 Jul 2020, 16:52 GMT+10

Then General Director of Mexico's oil giant PEMEX, Emilio Lozoya Austin (R), is inspecting the site of a blast in PEMEX headquarters, in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on Feb. 1, 2013. (Xinhua/Presidency of Mexico)

Lozoya has been under investigation since 2017, after Odebrecht revealed to U.S. prosecutors that it ran a multinational bribery operation to secure lucrative government contracts, including from Pemex.

MEXICO CITY, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Emilio Lozoya, the former CEO of Mexico's state oil company Pemex, has agreed to be extradited from Spain to face charges of accepting bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, Mexico's attorney general Alejandro Gertz Manero said on Tuesday.

Lozoya, who was the head of Pemex until February 2016, was arrested in the Spanish town of Malaga in February on an outstanding arrest warrant issued by Mexican judicial authorities.

In a video message, Gertz Manero said Lozoya submitted a written document to Spanish authorities on Monday agreeing to be extradited and offering to cooperate with the investigation "to establish and clear up the facts" of the case.

Mexican officials will work with their Spanish counterparts to have Lozoya returned as soon as possible, Gertz Manero said.

"To that end, this attorney general's office has taken the necessary steps to transfer this individual from Spain to Mexico on a Mexican-flagged aircraft," he added.

Judges first ordered Lozoya's arrest in 2019 for his suspected role in a corruption scheme involving Odebrecht and Pemex's multimillion-dollar purchase of a fertilizer plant.

Once Lozoya is extradited, the investigation will continue into those "people or political groups that participated or benefited from the plunder of Mexico," Gertz Manero said.

Lozoya has been under investigation since 2017, after Odebrecht revealed to U.S. prosecutors that it ran a multinational bribery operation to secure lucrative government contracts, including from Pemex. ■

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