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Former head of Mexico’s state oil giant Pemex arrested in Spain

World

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Spanish police on Wednesday arrested former chief executive of Mexico’s state oil firm Pemex, Emilio Lozoya, who was wanted on corruption charges in a graft case involving Brazilian builder Odebrecht, Spanish police and Lozoya’s lawyer said.

Lozoya was detained in the Spanish city of Malaga, the police said.

The case against Lozoya is the biggest anti-corruption case since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December 2018, and threatens to reach key top officials into the last government.

Lozoya was one of former President Enrique Pena Nieto’s closest aides, and ran Pemex from 2012 to 2016.

Lozoya’s lawyer, Javier Coello, told local media that the Mexican attorney general had requested his client’s detention over the Odebrecht corruption case and bribery charges.

The investigation into Lozoya has been focused on money transfers made to a shell company allegedly set up by Odebrecht to pay bribes. That shell firm allegedly sent the funds to Lozoya and his relatives.

Lozoya has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer said he is preparing his defense.

Reporting by Emma Pinedo Gonzales and Raul Cortes; writing by Drazen Jorgic; editing by Marianna Parraga and Marguerita Choy