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Mexico's energy reform was product of bribes -Lozaya, ex Pemex CEO

presidencia.gob.mx

President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto signing the energy reform in December 2013.

By Rebecca Conan/Argus

MEXICO CITY
Petroleumworld 08 24 2020

Mexico's energy reform passed because of bribes including from scandal-hit Brazilian company Odebrecht, former Pemex director Emilio Lozoya said in testimony.

"By 2013, the relationship with Odebrecht was not bribe-contract-bribe, it was much deeper, about exercising influence over the president and the legislature," Lozoya said during initial hearings based on a transcript that was leaked to social media. Mexico's attorney general confirmed the authenticity of the copy.

Lozoya, who was Pemex director between 2012-2016, has been charged with money laundering and receiving bribes from Odebrecht in return for awarding contracts. Following his arrest in Spain in February, he agreed to collaborate as a witness .

In February 2013, former President Enrique Pena Nieto and his ally and cabinet member Luis Videgaray instructed Lozoya to bribe opposition party Partido Accion Nacional (Pan) members with up to $50mn, paid in cash delivered in suitcases, in return for votes in favor of the 2014 energy reform, Lozoya alleged.

Odebrecht gave Lozoya $6mn to pay for some of the bribes with the understanding that it would give them a beneficial position following the reform.

The 63-page long testimony, leaked yesterday, accuses three former presidents Enrique Pena Nieto, Felipe Calderon and Carlos Salinas de Gortari numerous former Pemex directors and many of the leading Pan party officials of accepting bribes, paid for by Odebrecht and other unnamed oil services companies for campaign financing, smooth passage of the energy reform and in exchange for the controversial Ethylene XXI and Agronitrogenados fertilizer plant contracts.

The system of bribes and influence buying was "an organized power apparatus," orchestrated by Pena Nieto and Videgaray.

Calderon, former cabinet member Jose Antonio Meade, former Pan head Ricardo Anaya and several others implicated denied the accusations yesterday on Twitter.

Lozoya details dates, bank accounts and logistics for the payment of bribes, as well as anecdotes about drunken complaints from bribed senators during Houston's annual CeraWeek conference in 2014.

Lozoya recounts the purchase of the defunct Agronitrogenados fertilizer plant from Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) in detail, claiming Videgaray and Pena Nieto took an "unusual personal interest," in ensuring the sale went ahead. The purchase was arranged through Pemex's international trading arm PMI, a US-based company, to reduce the level of scrutiny. Videgaray personally handled all AHMSA negotiations, Lozoya claims.

The statement makes no reference to the Fertinal fertilizer plant purchase, bought for $32mn, despite being valued at much less.

Lozoya also details the extension of Pemex's contract to sell ethane to Braskem-Idesa's ethylene plant at an "inexplicable discount" of up to 25pc, claiming the company paid Ps84mn in bribes to maintain the contract during Pena Nieto's term.

By Rebecca Conan from Argus Media

argusmedia.com
08 21 2020

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