Former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya was directly implicated in the Odebrecht bribery scandal. According to one of the unsealed plea bargain agreements being reviewed by Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF), Lozoya was paid US$ 5.0 million in November 2014 “as a counterpart to undue benefits obtained by Odebrecht.”
In the STF document dated April 4, 2017, Hilberto Mascarenhas, the head of Odebrecht’s “Structured Operations” section, which handled all the bribe payments, said he was directed to make the payment to Lozoya, and that the bribe “was solicited” during a meeting held with Odebrecht’s Mexico head.
As reported by El Economista,
Lozoya denied having anything to do with the supposed bribes paid by Odebrecht. It has not yet been clarified if it was Lozoya himself who solicited the bribe, or someone acting on his behalf, or whether the bribe was actually paid.
Lozoya, who led Pemex from the end of 2012 to February 2016, warned: ‘I reserve the right to take legal action against those who slander me without any legal basis.’
Pemex has not commented on the Lozoya allegations.
Odebrecht has confessed to paying Mexican officials a total of US$10.5 million between 2010 and 2014, a time frame spanning both the Calderón and Peña Nieto governments. No other names of alleged bribe recipients have been disclosed.
In a major reversal — and perhaps a major step forward in investigating official corruption — Pemex today disclosed four contracts it signed with Brazilian contractor Odebrecht between 2010 and 2015.
The state-owned oil company had previously said the contracts were under seal. Pemex also said that the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) on April 3d summoned several unnamed current and former officials to provide testimony.
Until now, the government had seemed to be dragging its feet in investigating the information provided by Odebrecht as part of its plea bargain agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, made public in December, that it had paid US$10.5 million in bribes to “government officials” in Mexico to win contracts between 2010 and 2014. One US$6 million bribe was paid to a “high-level official of a Mexican state-owned and state-controlled company”–presumably Pemex–between December 2013 and late 2014. The CEO at that time was Emilio Lozoya, and he is reportedly one of the Pemex officials being summoned by the PGR.
More coverage at Reuters. El Financiero.
According to columnist Ana Paula Ordorica, the Pemex board of directors opened investigations into three issues that occurred when Emilio Lozoya was head of the state oil company: contracts with the Brazilian contractor Odebrecht, the purchase of two fertilizer companies, and the acquisition of nine aircraft.
Lozoya, a close personal friend of Enrique Peña Nieto, was CEO of Pemex from the beginning of the EPN government in Dec. 2012 to Feb. 2016.
Odebrecht has confessed to paying US$10.5 million in bribes to Pemex officials, during both the Calderón and EPN governments. (The Odebrecht contracts have been put under seal.) Little apparent progress has been made by Mexican authorities in pursuing a corruption case that was handed them on a silver platter.
In Jan. 2014 and Jan. 2016, Pemex inexplicably purchased two fertilizer manufacturing companies for a total of US$730 million, for reasons that have never been explained adequately. (The documents justifying the purchase were also placed under seal for 12 years.) In January 2017, the company hired UBS to sell the money-losing operations.
Finally, Pemex purchased 5 airplanes and 4 helicopters while Lozoya was CEO for almost US$100 million “to strengthen Pemex’s operational capabilities.” However, according the audits of the company, at least four of the aircraft were never entered as assets in the company’s books, and they appear to have been used for personal purposes.
In response to requests for information about its Odebrecht contracts under the transparency laws, Pemex Industrial Transformation (the refining arm) acknowledged two contracts but said that they had been put under seal until February 2023. The company said that “to disclose the contracts would put at risk the investigations being carried out by PGR and SFP,” (the Justice Ministry and the Public Function Secretariat).
Perhaps another sign that the investigation of the bribes that Odebrecht confessed paying between 2010 and 2014 will be less than vigorous.
Attorney General Raul Cervantes flew to Brazil to meet with prosecutors there, seeking more information about the corrupt activities of Odebrecht, the Brazilian contractor, in Mexico. While the Odebrecht scandals have led to major investigations in Peru and Colombia, in addition to Brazil, the interest to date of the Mexican authorities has been minimal. This despite the very clear description included in Odebrecht’s plea bargain with the U.S. Department of Justice that was made public by DOJ in December: