25 Jul 2019
The mother of Emilio Lozoya, the former chief executive of Mexican state oil company Pemex and a close confidant to ex-President Enrique Pena Nieto, has been arrested in Germany, Lozoya’s lawyer said on Wednesday.
Lozoya and several of his family members have been accused of involvement in a wide-ranging bribery and money laundering probe involving Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, part of a corruption case now being pursued by the government of Pena Nieto’s successor, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
While senior officials across Latin America have been brought to justice in a series of corruption investigations in recent years, including high-profile cases from Guatemala to Brazil, Mexico has so far lagged behind despite Lopez Obrador’s focus on rooting out what he describes as rampant graft.
Javier Cuello, Lozoya’s lawyer, told Mexican broadcaster Milenio that Gilda Austin, 71, was arrested in connection with money laundering charges stemming from a $155,000 deposit made to her bank account and that was used to pay taxes and legal fees in a real estate deal.
Cuello said she has committed no crime.
He described Austin as “scared” and said he would be speaking with lawyers in Germany.
“She was on vacation there. She was not fleeing from justice,” Cuello said.
The attorney general’s office said in a statement the arrest was due to Austin’s “probable responsibility in the commission of crimes involving operations using resources obtained from illicit sources and criminal association in the Odebrecht case.”
In May, the finance ministry announced it had presented prosecutors with three charges against the former Pemex CEO related to “acts of corruption.” Arrest warrants for Lozoya and three relatives were issued earlier this month.
By Lizbeth Diaz, Reuters, 24 July 2019
Read more at Reuters
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