Ex-head of Mexico’s state oil company denies taking bribes
MEXICO CITY — The former head of Mexico’s state-owned oil company, a key campaign adviser to President Enrique Pena Nieto, has denied accusations that he took bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Emilio Lozoya said Sunday via Twitter that he was never corrupt and suggested the allegations were made by executives seeking to reduce their own sentences in Brazil.
His lawyer Javier Coello Trejo said on Radio Formula on Monday that “we will prove that Emilio Lozoya did not receive a single cent of those supposed $10 million that they paid as a bribe.”
The Brazilian newspaper O Globo said Sunday it had obtained statements made by former Odebrecht’s director in Mexico Luis Alberto de Meneses Weyll to investigators. De Meneses Weyll said that from 2012 to 2014, Odebrecht paid Lozoya $10 million to win a contract for work on a refinery in central Mexico. Lozoya left Pemex last year.
Mexican investigative media collaborative Quinto Elemento Lab and anti-corruption nonprofit Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity also reported they have prosecution documents detailing payments to offshore accounts allegedly linked to Lozoya. The authenticity of the documents could not be immediately confirmed.
Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that it did not have all of the information from Brazilian investigators, but would pursue the case to its ultimate consequences.
It noted that Odebrecht and another company, Braskem, had pleaded guilty in federal court in New York in December 2016 to paying bribes in a number of countries, including $10.5 million to Pemex officials.
The Attorney General’s Office said it had already taken statements from a number of Pemex executives as part of its own investigation. Coello, Lozoya’s lawyer, said that his client had offered to give a statement, but the agency had still not scheduled him to come in.
When the alleged payments began in 2012, Lozoya was an adviser to Pena Nieto’s campaign and a leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.