Elías Beltrán: not a political decision. Elías Beltrán: not a political decision.

Former Pemex chief denies making threat

Lozoya denies letter was intended to seek impunity

Former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya has denied he made a threat against Mexico’s former electoral crimes prosecutor, claiming that the only purpose of a letter he sent to Santiago Nieto was to seek an opportunity to personally respond to corruption allegations.

Nieto, who headed the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes (Fepade) division of the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR), was dismissed from his position on Friday, just two days after the newspaper Reforma published his revelation that he had received Lozoya’s letter.

He said it pressured him to clear Lozoya of corruption accusations and was reflective of an expectation of impunity on the part of the former state oil company boss.

But this morning Lozoya asserted that the letter — that he says was sent by his lawyer — only requested that Fepade summon him to give evidence in relation to the accusations against him.

“It’s a document that strictly asks him to summon me if there is an investigation against me and it says, like any legal document, who I am, where I live, who my parents are. . . I don’t understand how it has been interpreted as a request for impunity [or] as a threat,” he said.

Lozoya released a copy of the letter he says was sent via his Twitter account.

The former Pemex chief has been accused of receiving US $10 million in bribes from the Brazilian firm Odebrecht and funneling some of the cash into President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2012 election campaign, allegations he has repeatedly denied. Lozoya was a member of Peña Nieto’s campaign committee.

Fepade announced in August that it had opened an investigation into the allegation.

In an interview with Radio Fórmula, Lozoya went on to strongly criticize the former Fepade chief and said that his legal rights had been infringed upon.

“In October, the head of Fepade comes out and says that I’m asking for impunity, that I’m asking for a public apology. . . I think it’s cowardly behavior, and in addition he’s disseminating information from the content of the letter, which is a violation of due process,” he said.

Lozoya also indicated that he planned to take legal action against Nieto for “the damage he has caused me.”

While officially Nieto was fired for breaching the federal Attorney General’s code of conduct, opposition parties say the decision was politically motivated and announced that they would push for him to be reinstated.

Nieto also denied any wrongdoing and said he would fight the decision in the Senate.

Alberto Elías Beltrán, who in the role of acting Attorney General took the decision to remove Nieto, told Radio Fórmula the dismissal was not designed to protect any current or formal government officials but added that if the Senate decided to reinstate Nieto, he would respect its decision.

In another interview today, he said the decision was a technical one, and not political.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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