Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Spanish police arrest former oil exec

Published:Thursday | February 13, 2020 | 12:15 AM


The former head of Mexico’s state oil company was arrested yesterday in Spain on a international warrant issued by Mexico, authorities said.

Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero told Radio Formula that Emilio Lozoya was arrested in the southern port city of Malaga and that the goal was his extradition to Mexico.

Lozoya was director of Pemex between 2012 and 2016, during the administration of former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Mexico issued international arrest warrants for Lozoya last year as a result of corruption investigations, including into his alleged ties to Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction company that secured contracts across Latin America through a network of bribes.

Officials are also investigating Pemex’s purchase of a fertiliser plant in 2015 at an allegedly inflated price.

Lozoya has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

Gertz said that prosecutors had been pursuing multiple investigations against Lozoya for months. He called it an “iconic case” that was nearly a year in the making with authorities across Europe.

After Gertz confirmed the arrest, Lozoya’s lawyer in Mexico, Javier Coello Trejo, said that the news “hit me like a bucket of cold water”.

He told Radio Formula that Lozoya was convinced the investigation was baseless and was open to turning himself in. He said he hadn’t yet spoken to his client since the arrest.