Friday, July 19, 2024

Lozoya speaks out: ‘It’s a cowardly political attack without foundation’

Former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya has spoken out against the criminal charges he faces, labeling them “a cowardly political attack without foundation against me and my family.”

Lozoya, head of the state oil company between 2012 and 206, is accused of criminal association, operations with resources of illicit origin and receiving bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which has been at the center of corruption scandals in several Latin American countries.

Judges have issued two warrants for his arrest and Interpol last month issued a red notice at the request of Mexican prosecutors, meaning that Lozoya could be arrested in any of the 190 countries where the international police organization has jurisdiction.

A joint investigation by the Mexican news organization Quinto Elemento Lab, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and Swiss media company Tamedia revealed last week that Lozoya had entered Germany via Frankfurt International Airport but it is believed that he may now be in Switzerland.

The three media organizations sent him nine questions to which he responded via his lawyer.

Lozoya denied all allegations of corruption and money laundering, asserting that while he was a public official, neither he nor his family received any illicit money from companies or individuals.

Asked about his involvement in two companies registered at the same address in Munich, Germany, Lozoya said that his investments in ELMO Wolfsburg and All-Me Hamburg were declared with the Secretariat of Public Administration every year while he served as Pemex CEO.

He added that his stakes in the companies were purchased with income he obtained as a businessman prior to becoming a government official.

As he has done consistently, Lozoya categorically denied that he received US $10.5 million in bribes from Odebrecht in exchange for helping the company win lucrative Pemex contracts.

Three former high-ranking Odebrecht officials who made that allegation in a Brazilian court could have done so in exchange for reduced sentences, he said.

Asked about Pemex’s purchase of a fertilizer plant at a heavily inflated price from steelmaker Altos Hornos de México while Lozoya was the chief of the state oil company, Coello responded on behalf of his client that the accusation about the overpayment is not supported.

“My client never participated in the approval committees of that transaction,” the lawyer said.

A question about the purchase of a Mexico City house for 2.58 million Swiss francs in December 2012 using money that allegedly came from Odebrecht was met with a defiant response.

“My house in Mexico City was bought in November 2012, a month before I was a public official. How can you accuse a person who isn’t a public official of [receiving] bribes? All the money that was used for the purchase of that property is the product of business activity, of years of work before I was a public official,” Lozoya said.

He also denied that any illicit resources were used for his wife’s purchase of a home in Ixtapa, Guerrero, asserting again that the funds came from income he obtained before serving in the administration of former president Enrique Peña Nieto.

Asked about his purchase of 10 million euros’ worth of shares in a Luxembourg-based company between 2013 and 2014, Lozoya said that he couldn’t comment because he didn’t have the relevant documents at hand.

However, he asserted that it was “absurd” to link the investment to Odebrecht.

Asked to comment on his mother’s arrest, Lozoya questioned how it was possible for her to face charges of receiving money from him before he became a government official.

“What kind of crime is that? Besides the crimes that they accuse us of don’t merit preventative prison in Mexico,” he said.

“. . . Despite that, the government lied and colluded with a judge in Mexico to generate arrest warrants,” Lozoya added.

Coello said last week that the former Pemex CEO will release a video in the next few weeks, revealing the corruption that took place at the state oil company while he was in charge.

The lawyer said that Lozoya will implicate Peña Nieto and former cabinet secretary Luis Videgaray in the looting of Pemex.

He will “tell the story about exactly how everything happened . . . because he knows it perfectly well,” Coello said.

Source: Quinto Elemento Lab (sp) 

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