This marks the first big case against the alleged corruption in former President Enrique Peña Nieto’s inner circle. True to his campaign promise, since Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office, the head of state has worked to root out corruption in the public sector and to clean up the politics in the Latin American nation.
On Monday, the Finance Ministry stated it had blocked accounts belonging to Lozoya, who ran Pemex from 2012 to 2016, and those of steel company Altos Hornos de Mexico (Ahmsa) for allegedly carrying out illegal operations. While Spanish police detained Ahmsa’s owner, steel magnate Alonso Ancira Tuesday.
“Operations with possibly illicit resources linked to acts of corruption were detected, particularly transfers of financial resources deposited by Altos Hornos de Mexico in an Odebrecht phantom shell company, and part of the money reached Mr. Lozoya’s accounts,” the Finance Ministry’s money laundering head, Santiago Nieto said on Mexican radio. The company sold a fertilizer plant to Pemex in 2014, while Lozoya was CEO.
Over the past two decades, top officials at Pemex have been linked to several cases of fraud, embezzling for electoral campaigns and stealing resources for their own use. In the last quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, the company lost US$19 billion in revenue and US$14 billion in 2016.
Referring to Peña Nieto’s term, Lopez Obrador said in March that "it was an inefficient economic policy characterized by looting, by corruption. Neoliberalism is synonymous in the case of Mexico with corruption, with robbery,” adding that "both Pemex and the electricity company CFE were the most looted companies, not only of Mexico, I would say, of the world in the neoliberal period."