Judge orders arrest of ex-CEO of Mexican oil firm on corruption charge

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-06 14:19:38|Editor: Yamei
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MEXICO CITY, July 5 (Xinhua) -- A judge has ordered the arrest of Emilio Lozoya, a former head of Mexico's state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), on a charge of corruption, the Prosecutor General's Office (FGR) said Friday.

Lozoya is accused of accepting bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which has admitted in court to paying off top officials throughout Latin America in exchange for lucrative contracts.

Arrest warrants for Lozoya and three women allegedly involved in the scheme were issued on Thursday after prosecutors submitted evidence.

Local media said the three women were Lozoya's wife Marielle Helene Eckes, his mother Gilda Austin, and his sister Gilda Lozoya.

Investigation into Odebrecht's illicit activities in Mexico began in January 2017, after the Brazilian company revealed its modus operandi in plea bargains with U.S. prosecutors.

Former Odebrecht executives said they paid top Pemex officials 10 million U.S. dollars between 2012 and 2014.

Lozoya went into hiding in May, after another judge ordered his arrest on charges that he misappropriated funds in the purchase of a fertilizer plant during his stint as CEO.

In a related move, the Spanish police, acting on the FGR's orders, arrested Alonso Ancira, owner of Altos Hornos de Mexico S.A., Mexico's biggest steel producer and the company that sold Pemex the fertilizer plant.

The Odebrecht scandal has led to various convictions and investigations in Brazil, Peru and Colombia.