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Mexico issues arrest warrants for ex-Pemex boss, relatives

July 5, 2019
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2017 file photo, Emilio Lozoya, former head of Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex, gives a press conference in Mexico City. Prosecutors said in a statement Friday, July 5, 2019, that new arrest warrants have been issued for Lozoya and several of his relatives. (AP Photo/Gustavo Martinez Contreras, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2017 file photo, Emilio Lozoya, former head of Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex, gives a press conference in Mexico City. Prosecutors said in a statement Friday, July 5, 2019, that new arrest warrants have been issued for Lozoya and several of his relatives. (AP Photo/Gustavo Martinez Contreras, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s attorney general’s office said Friday that new arrest warrants have been issued for the former head of the state oil company and several of his relatives.

In a statement, prosecutors said that the warrants for Emilio Lozoya and others are related to their investigation into wrongdoing by the Brazilian construction behemoth Odebrecht.

The targets were only identified by their first names, but an official in the attorney general’s office who was not authorized to speak publicly, confirmed that it was Lozoya.

Attorney Javier Coello told Milenio TV that the warrant for his client wasn’t surprising, but it was a shock that Lozoya’s wife, mother and sister were also included.

“What does Mr. Lozoya’s wife have to do with this? What does his mom have to do with this?” Coello said, adding that he believed Lozoya was in Mexico.

The attorney general’s office said that Interpol had also been notified of the warrants. It said sufficient evidence was presented to a judge to allow advancement in “a case that for a long time was frozen in a reprehensible way.”

Brazil’s so-called Car Wash investigation into illicit payments by Odebrecht to government officials has led to multiple arrests and prosecutions in Latin American countries over the past five years, but none in Mexico.

Earlier this year, the attorney general’s office also sought an arrest warrant for Lozoya in relation to the 2015 sale of a fertilizer plant to state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, at an inflated price, although the former executive has denied wrongdoing.

In late 2016, Odebrecht and Braskem, a petrochemical subsidiary, reached an agreement with American, Brazilian and Swiss justice officials to pay $3.5 billion in penalties.

As part of that accord, Odebrecht divulged details on bribes across several countries. It said it paid $10.5 million to officials at Pemex between 2010 and 2014.

Lozoya was head of the company from 2012 to 2016.

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