Spain Court Clears Extradition of Former Mexico Oil Chief

Emilio Lozoya, CEO of Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), attends a 2015 meeting in Paris, France. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — A Spanish court said on Monday it was allowing the extradition of a former chief executive of Mexican state oil company PEMEX accused of corruption to his home country.

Emilio Lozoya, PEMEX chief from 2012 to 2018, is accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from scandal-tainted Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Lozoya was a top advisor to former president Enrique Pena Nieto (2012-18) and allegedly used the bribes to help fund Nieto’s presidential campaign bid.

He is also accused of having authorized the acquisition by PEMEX of a fertilizer factory in a poor state for $500 million, a price that prosecutors deem to have been suspiciously high.

The National Court in Madrid said all legal conditions were in place ot hand over Lozoya, who denies all the accusations but has accepted his extradition and promised to help clear up the cases.

Odebrecht, the largest construction firm in Latin America, has admitted to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to win contracts in 12 countries, including Mexico.

The scandal has brought down ex-presidents and top officials in countries including Brazil, Peru and Colombia, but there have been no arrests or prosecutions so far in Mexico.

Lozoya allegedly took more than $10 million in bribes from Odebrecht starting in March 2012, when he was chief international strategist for then-candidate Nieto.

© Agence France-Presse

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