Spain court approves extradition of Mexico's former oil chief

Emilio Lozoya, who is wanted in Mexico on charges including bribery and money laundering, has agreed to be extradited.

    Lozoya ran PEMEX between 2012 and 2016 [File: Jon Nazca/Reuters]
    Lozoya ran PEMEX between 2012 and 2016 [File: Jon Nazca/Reuters]

    Spain's National Administrative Tribunal has agreed to extradite Emilio Lozoya, former chief executive of oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), to Mexico.

    Lozoya, 45, is wanted in Mexico on charges including bribery and money laundering in cases involving Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht SA as well as a Mexican fertilizer firm. He denies any wrongdoing.

    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, who ran PEMEX between 2012 and 2016 and was once a close confidant of former President Enrique Pena Nieto, allegedly took more than $10m in bribes from Odebrecht starting in March 2012.

    Extradition 

    He had already agreed to be extradited, Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz said last week.

    Lozoya was arrested in the Spanish city of Malaga in February, months after fleeing Mexico.

    The cases against him raised questions about how much others in the previous administration in Mexico knew about his actions.

    The extradition is widely expected to boost Pena Nieto's successor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in his contention that he is serious about cracking down on corruption.

    SOURCE: News agencies