The Mexican ex-chef of Pemex stops the extradition battle

The Mexican ex-chef of Pemex stops the extradition battle

MEXICO CITY (AP) – The former head of Mexico’s state oil company has halted his extradition battle and agreed to return to Mexico to cooperate in corruption investigations, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said Tuesday.

Spanish police arrested Emilio Lozoya in the southern city of Malaga in February on the basis of an international order from Mexico.

Gertz Manero said the Mexican prosecutors had obtained arrest warrants for Lozoya based on parallel investigations into bribes paid by Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht and the purchase of a fertilizer plant in 2015 by Petroleos Mexicanos, better known as Pemex, at a high price. But warrants leaked, and Lozoya fled Mexico.

He has repeatedly denied denial.

Authorities have searched for him around the world for eight months, Gertz Manero said.

Lozoya will return to Mexico as soon as details of his trip can be completed, he said.

Lozoya was director of Pemex between 2012 and 2016, during the administration of former President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In late 2016, Odebrecht reached an agreement with U.S., Brazilian and Swiss judiciary to pay millions of dollars in fines. As part of that agreement, Odebrecht has released information about bribes in several countries. It said it paid $ 10.5 million to Pemex officials between 2010 and 2014. Lozoya has denied taking bribes.

The scandal grew in late 2017 when a series of videos containing statements by former Odebrecht executives were released, including former Mexico director Luis de Meneses. They were directly involved with Lozoya, who had been a key member of Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign in 2012.

While the Odebrecht revelations sparked a wave of corruption investigations and arrests across Latin America. Lozoya is the first Mexican arrested in connection with the Odebrecht scandal.

The head of Mexican anti-money laundering agency, Santiago Nieto, had previously said that Lozoya’s lawyers had discussed the possibility that the former oil company boss could provide information on other possible matters in exchange for a suspended sentence.

“What he has talked to his lawyers about is that the National Penal Code offers the possibility to cancel a criminal case if (the suspect) provides real and credible information about the superiors involved,” Nieto said.

Nieto said in an interview in May that his office did not yet have evidence linking Lozoya’s alleged wrongdoings to other people higher up in the government of former President Enrique Peña Nieto.

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