Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Steel company owner accuses president of political persecution

The CEO of a Mexican steelmaker who was arrested in Spain last May and faces extradition to Mexico says he is the victim of political persecution by President López Obrador.

Alonso Ancira, the owner of Altos Hornos de México, appeared before a Spanish judge on Tuesday, where he expressed his faith in the Spanish justice system and his refusal to be extradited to Mexico.

In a conversation with reporters after the hearing, Ancira reaffirmed his innocence and said that López Obrador is investigating Altos Hornos for political purposes.

“The accusation has no legal ends, it has political ends, and when politics gets involved, justice goes out the window,” he said. “. . . I don’t understand why he attacked my business. He’s hurt thousands of workers and he’s putting sources of employment at risk.”

Ancira, who is accused of bribery and money laundering related to the alleged overpayment by state-owned Pemex for fertilizer plants owned by Altos Hornos, offered to buy the plants back from the government.

“Return them to me, if you’re against it, return them,” he said. “It was a transaction that involved banks and international regulators. We’re not talking about buying oranges, dozens of people were involved, and that’s proven . . . If you don’t want them, give them back to me, and give me some time and I’ll pay everything back.”

Ancira was arrested by Spanish police in an airport in Mallorca in late May, based on an international arrest warrant. After spending a month in a Spanish jail, he posted bail of 1 million euros and was released after surrendering his passport and agreeing to appear before the judge every two days.

In September, Ancira’s case will be transferred to another court, which has the power to extradite him to Mexico. The proceedings will last several months.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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