Ex-Pemex chief arrested in Spain agrees to be extradited to Mexico
Mexico City, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero reported Tuesday that the former director of Mexico’s state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Emilio Lozoya, who was arrested earlier this year in Spain for his alleged links to the Odebrecht corruption case, has agreed to be extradited to Mexico.
“(On Monday), Emilio Lozoya Austin formally presented before the Criminal Court of the Audiencia Nacional of the Kingdom of Spain his written request in which he agrees to the extradition required by this Attorney General’s Office,” Gertz Manero said in a message to the media.
The AG said that “a series of procedures” will be undertaken with Spain so that “in the immediate future this person may be returned to Mexico.”
Lozoya, against whom an international search and capture order has been pending since May 2019 for his alleged links to the international bribery activities of Brazil’s Odebrecht construction firm, was captured on Feb. 12 in Malaga, Spain.
Lozoya headed Pemex from 2012-2016, during the 2012-2018 administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“This office has carried out the necessary steps to transfer this individual from Spain to Mexico in a Mexican aircraft with the aim of fulfilling all the security and health provisions for the (transfer) to our country,” Gertz Manero said.
Once Lozoya is extradited to Mexico, the judicial process will begin to clarify “the responsibilities of all those involved and their beneficiaries regarding the designated crimes, including people of relevance or political groups that may have participated,” the AG said.
Gertz Manero, who has served in his post since 2019, noted that he had to “restart” the Lozoya case since the previous administration had launched an investigation in early 2017 but “it did not finalize it” before the government changed hands.
“In this new period, and during 2019, Petroleos Mexicanos also became enmeshed in another case involving the Agro Nitrogenados firm and has been charged with using illicit funds for some of its operations.
The two investigations enabled the AG’s Office last year to obtain two separate international arrest warrants against Lozoya, whose case has spread doubts regarding former President Peña Nieto, although the country’s current leader – Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – has categorically denied that his predecessor is being investigated.