Former PEMEX CEO Lozoya Will Face Trial for Odebrecht Scandal
Emilio Lozoya, the former CEO of PEMEX, will stand trial for corruption charges related to the Brazilian company Odebrecht's bribery scandal in Mexico, by orders of judge Gerardo Genaro Alrcón from this Monday. The Federal General Prosecutor’s Office (FGR) requested a 46-year sentence.
Although the trial was scheduled to take place in five days, the legal defense of the former CEO, who held the position from 2012 to 2016, filed an appeal to determine which institution should be compensated for the damages and thereby suspended the trial.
Moreover, the FGR also stated that it will file an appeal to admit all evidence rejected by the judge and charge Lozoya with embezzlement, bribery, conspiracy and the use of illicitly obtained resources. During the trial, the judge rejected at least 22 out of 39 pieces of evidence presented by the prosecutor's office, while accepting 20 people to testify in favor of the defendant and eight pieces of evidence.
The lawyers argue that PEMEX's participation as a claimant does not automatically make it a victim while concerning the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), "it is not evident that it has suffered any damage to its property rights," Milenio reported.
Lozoya's lawyer, Miguel Ontiveros, said that the defense would use the extra time to pursue a plea in which the defendant had offered to pay over US$11 million in damages. The prosecutor's office also demanded 22 years in prison for Lozoya's mother, Gilda Margarita Austin, and demanded US$7.3 million in compensation for the Odebrecht case.
Lozoya was arrested in Spain in 2020 and extradited to Mexico later that year. He faces two corruption cases in Mexican courts and is the main suspect in the Odebrecht scandal, in which he allegedly received US$10.5 million in bribes. The second case involves the overpriced purchase of Agronitrogenados, a plant that had been abandoned for 14 years, from businessman Alonso Ancira, owner of Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA), allegedly in exchange for bribes. According to the Federal Auditor's office, the government spent about US$650 million on the purchase in 2013.
Recently, President López Obrador called for a compensation agreement to be reached with Emilio Lozoya concerning the Agronitrogenados case. The president clarified that he had rejected Lozoya’s offer to pay around US$3.4 million as reparation for the damage caused by the overpriced purchase of the Agronitrogenados plant from Altos Hornos de México.