Correspondent in Mexico City
For the first time, the FGR (Attorney General’s Office) has highlighted a precise amount that points directly to the former President Peña Nieto and his right hand, the Minister of Finance in his mandate, Luis Videgaray. In a report published in the Mexican newspaper ‘Reforma’, he narrates how the powerful Brazilian construction company Odebrecht allegedly gave bribes worth six million dollars to the two influential politicians to, according to the newspaper, atest the energy reform during the six-year term of his mandate, which ran from the end of 2012 to the end of 2018, when the current president López Obrador seized power with a large majority.
Since last January, the Obrador Administration intends, through a proposal to the Chamber of Deputies, to prioritize the power plants included in the Federal Electricity Commission that belong to the Mexican State. An initiative, which, as published by Forbes Mexico, representatives of the energy sector observe an impact on economic competition that could cancel contracts and limit the profitability of investors. In an opposite law, Enrique Peña Nieto approved in 2013 the opening of the energy sector, paralyzed for more than 75 years, which attracted private capital, however, did not reach the great application that the PRI government intended.
This Wednesday, the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed a payment located in the Virgin Islands that was later withdrawn in cash. The serious indictment provides the objective: “to benefit foreign companies, including Constructora Odebrecht, to the detriment of the oil and energy assets that belong to the Mexican nation.” Furthermore, it is described as Emilio Lozoya (former director of the state oil company Pemex and arrested in our country in February 2020 for the crimes of money laundering, criminal association and bribery) was, presumably, the one who deposited the six-digit amount in the tax haven account. In Lozoya’s negotiation with the Prosecutor’s Office, he indicated that the bribes from the construction company sponsored the approval of the energy reform by the opposition. Odebrecht executives confessed to the Brazilian authorities that the payment opened the doors to contracts for works in the mammoth Miguel Hidalgo refinery.
In their statements to the Brazilian authorities, the Odebrecht bosses assured that the money was a payment to be granted a works contract at the Miguel Hidalgo refinery, located in Tula 70 kilometers from Mexico City. As stated in his statements, the Brazilians would give Lozoya two million dollars and another four in the case of achieving the expected work. However, the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office maintains that the amount was destined for two ‘offshore’ accounts of Emilio Lozoya: Latin American Asia Capital Holding that linked with an account in the Swiss bank Gonet et Cie and Zecapan SA, another based in the Neue Bank AG, located in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
In the report in the newspaper ‘Reforma’, it stands out that Odebrecht transferred one million dollars to the aforementioned Zecapan and in three months it increased the deposits to reach the figure of five million. The Prosecutor’s Office assures that the transfers in the Odebrecht case add up almost 13 million in Lozoya’s accounts, both before and after being appointed director of Pemex.