PEMEX, UIF Sign Agreement to Fight Corruption
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PEMEX, UIF Sign Agreement to Fight Corruption

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Perla Velasco By Perla Velasco | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 01/19/2023 - 12:33

PEMEX announced that it signed an agreement with the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), to collaborate in the fight against corruption and eradicate irregular business practices. The agreement includes information exchanges to strengthen transparency.

The UIF is an administrative unit of the Ministry of Treasury and Public Credit (SHCP) created in 2004 “to assist in the prevention and combat of the crimes of operations with resources of illicit origin, commonly known as money laundering, and the financing of terrorism.”

“By signing this agreement, PEMEX aims to strengthen and adopt measures to combat operational crimes with resources of illicit origin through the exchange of reliable and timely financial information to comply with relevant laws and regulations,” announced PEMEX. Pablo Gómez, Head of the UIF, underlined that the importance of this agreement and cited the thefts PEMEX has been a victim of.

PEMEX CEO Octavio Romero reiterated the company’s commitment to cooperate with the unit’s work, adding that PEMEX is the federal entity that manages the highest amount of money. According to Romero, PEMEX was already sharing information with the unit but the agreement would formalize this collaboration.

Since President López Obrador promised to eradicate corruption in the government, PEMEX has been subject to closer scrutiny regarding illicit business practices. According to Forbes, PEMEX’s evaluation of its anti-corruption policies and guidelines improved during this administration. The NOC also made its contracts and debt information public. Furthermore, to decrease bureaucracy, the company implemented digital mechanisms to speed up processes.

PEMEX’s former CEO, Emilio Lozoya Austin, faces two corruption charges in Mexico: the first concerns the overpriced purchase of the unserviceable Agronitrogenados plant from businessman Alonso Ancira, owner of Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA), allegedly in exchange for bribes. The other refers to Lozoya allegedly receiving US$10.5 million in bribes from Odebrecht during the campaign and subsequent presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto.

The General Attorney of the Republic (FGR) stated that if Lozoya does not reach a compensation agreement, he may receive a 40 to 60-year prison sentence and a US$20 million fine. Lozoya’s hearing has been postponed to March 10, 2023, with the aim to reach an agreement for compensation. Lozoya’s lawyers aim to avoid an interim hearing since this would mean that Lozoya could be charged with criminal association, money laundering and bribery.

Photo by:   Twitter @Pemex

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