Former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya Austin is a wanted man again after a judge withdrew a temporary order protecting him from detention on corruption charges.
On Monday, Judge Luz María Ortega Tlapa rescinded a ruling she had made earlier this month temporarily protecting Lozoya from arrest for his prosecution for money laundering.
Ortega noted that he had been summoned to appear before the criminal court where he faces prosecution but had failed to appear, a violation of the temporary suspension of his arrest warrant.
In an interview with El Financiero, Lozoya’s lawyer, Javier Coello Trejo, confirmed that Lozoya is in Mexico City, but said he will not be arrested because authorities will not be able to find him.
Coello also said that his client had never been cited by the criminal court, and that he will continue pushing for the suspension of the arrest warrant.
“The injunction proceedings are still going on, and we’re going to present all the proof we have that the prosecutors never summoned us to defend ourselves,” he said.
Coello added that Lozoya is in good health, although he is “hurt” by what he sees as political persecution.
Coello also insisted that his client is innocent of the charges against him, which relate to the 2014 purchase by Pemex of a dilapidated fertilizer plant for US $475 million from steelmaker Altos Hornos de México. Prosecutors say that Lozoya received bribes from Altos Hornos in exchange for purchasing the plant.
According to Coello, the timeline of the alleged events will prove Lozoya’s innocence.
“It’s honestly funny to say that two years before Lozoya was Pemex director, Altos Hornos gave him money,” said Coello. “. . . It would be like if I gave you money so that, in case you get the job three years later, you can give me a contract.”
The arrest warrant against Lozoya was originally issued on May 26. Alonso Ancira, CEO of Altos Hornos, was arrested in Spain by Interpol on May 28 for charges relating to the fertilizer plant.
A judge in Spain today ruled that Ancira must remain in jail without bail after his lawyer filed for his release, arguing that “a series of errors” had been made in ordering his incarceration.
Interpol has also issued a red notice against Lozoya at the request of Mexican prosecutors. He could be arrested in any of the 190 countries where Interpol has jurisdiction.
Arrest warrants against Lozoya’s mother, sister and father remain suspended.