Justice
Exclusive: Former Pemex CEO apprehended in Spain tried to negotiate with the AMLO administration
The arrest of Emilio Lozoya could trigger a political earthquake in Mexico for members of former President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration. The former official allegedly wanted to negotiate with the new government.

Mexico's Attorney General's Office confirmed that former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya Austin was arrested in Spain on Wednesday. A significant turn of events because the Mexican government had leaked to the press that the former official from the Enrique Peña Nieto administration was hiding in Russia.

Sources close to the former official who spoke to LPO claimed that the apprehension was possible because the former CEO of the state-owned oil company moved from Russia to the Iberian Peninsula intending to meet outside Malaga with his former boss, former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Peña Nieto has a house there that was allegedly bought on behalf of him - on a trip in 2018 - by former senator Emilio Gamboa and former governor of Nuevo León Rodrigo Medina. The house in question was chosen by the wife of the latter, who has a predilection for southern Spain. Minor frivolities in the middle of a storm that was already coming.

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According to sources consulted by this outlet, Lozoya wanted to talk to the former president to organize a meeting with Bernardo Gómez, a director of the Mexican television station Televisa, to put an end to the "persecution" he is suffering from the Andrés Manuel López Obrador administration. In quotation marks, of course, because he does not accept that the serious allegations against him began long before the beginning of the current administration.

Lozoya's capture had made its way into the agenda of last week's meeting between Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. As LPO reported, the Mexican authorities' main concern was Lozoya's eventual marriage to his new Russian girlfriend, a move that would have made his extradition to Mexico more difficult.

But Lozoya would have been on the move. He knew he was the number one target after Enrique Peña Nieto's departure from the Mexican presidency. There was mention of his time in Germany, where his mother Gilda Austin Solis, also linked to the same legal cause, was arrested and extradited. Because of her age, Lozoya's mother is facing trial under house arrest. The sister of the former executive of the Mexican oil company is still at large.

Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero

Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero confirmed Lozoya's arrest to Radio Formula and explained that it was for extradition purposes. "Now the litigation to bring him to Mexico will begin," he said.

"After a long pilgrimage throughout Europe and with the arrest warrant we obtained here, from a judge; with the fundamental support of Interpol and in this specific case from the Spanish police who have behaved wonderfully, we managed to arrest this individual," said the AG.

He explained that the arrest of the former director of Pemex was previously frustrated by leaks in the press, around the arrest of another former Mexican executive, Alonso Alcira. Since then, the prosecutor said, it has been a nearly seven-month chase throughout Europe in contact with German authorities and then with leads in several countries.

"His detention is for extradition purposes, and we are going to begin litigation to bring him to Mexico," he said of the former executive, who is accused of money laundering, bribery, and fraud.

Meanwhile, Lozoya's lawyer, Javier Coello, commented in an interview with MVS Noticias that his client's arrest had come as a "bucket of cold water".

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From his refuge in Russia, Lozoya understood that Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero was going through a difficult time with the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He assumed that this was his opportunity to seek some kind of agreement through television executive Gómez, who serves as a powerful conduit to President López Obrador, as was seen at the mythical dinner that the latter organized at his home, attended by Donald Trump's son-in-law and close advisor, Jared Kushner.

These are new signs that seem to confirm the unutterable: the Televisa executive is the guarantor of a tacit peace by which certain key figures of the previous administration do not suffer the anti-corruption investigations of the new government as much as others. Starting with former President Peña Nieto.

Lozoya's detention sparked alerts in Grupo Atlacomulco, the political tribe from which Peña Nieto emerged. Lozoya was -along with former Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray and former Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong- a key player in financing the 2012 presidential campaign. In this operation, Odebrecht, which has been involved in numerous corruption scandals throughout Latin America, played a prominent role.

Former President Enrique Peña Nieto (right) and former Secretary of Finance Luis Videgaray.

The conclusion is obvious: Emilio Lozoya finds himself in a position to generate a judicial earthquake in Mexican politics, specifically within the PRI, the party of former President Peña Nieto. He tried to facilitate that information as a fugitive. Now he could do it as a prisoner. His lawyer Javier Coello Trejo had already sent several warnings in this regard.

The former Pemex CEO had been trying to talk to Peña Nieto for months without success. The former president had already distanced himself since 2018 when Lozoya had not yet had to flee from the Mexican authorities. In 2019 they were to meet in New York, but the meeting was frustrated at the last minute. That was the occasion when former president Peña Nieto appeared in a restaurant dressed in a blond wig with his new girlfriend.

Lozoya's defense constantly played with the idea of "turning on the fan" with information on the alleged links between him and the top political players of the previous administration. On more than one occasion, Coello Trejo pointed to former secretary Videgaray and Peña Nieto himself for the decisions his client made at Pemex.

"The attack against Lozoya comes directly from Videgaray," was one of the strongest accusations that the lawyer made in an exclusive interview with LPO. He also linked Peña Nieto to the controversial operations of Fertinal and Agronitrogenados. "Who made the Pact for Mexico? Who turned over the instructions to get the fertilizers going? I'm not accusing the former president. I'm saying that he should be subpoenaed to clarify what his instructions were".