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López Obrador asks former presidents Peña Nieto and Calderón to testify about Odebrecht bribes

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has reacted to the bomb dropped this Tuesday by the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office. The president has said in his morning press conference that former presidents Enrique Peña Nieto, of the PRI, and Felipe Calderón, of the PAN, should be called to testify before the courts after Emilio Lozoya, the former director of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), denounce a corruption plot that involves politicians from various parties. “It implies that they are called to appear, that the two former presidents, among other public servants, testify … the deputy they mention, the senators, the one who was Secretary of the Treasury, Luis Videgaray, all have to declare,” said the president at the morning conference this Wednesday.

Lozoya Austin, said López Obrador, is obliged to prove the facts that he has denounced and that have shaken local politics. Mexico was the only country in Latin America where Odebrecht corruption had not triggered a political tsunami. It took time, but it is happening now thanks to the fact that the former director of the oil company, who received bribes, is cooperating with justice. Lozoya affirmed before the Prosecutor’s Office that in 2012 he received from the Brazilian construction company 100 million pesos in bribes that were used in the presidential campaign of Peña Nieto, about 8 million dollars at the exchange rate of that time. This amount is higher than what Luis Alberto de Meneses Weyll, director of Odebrecht in Mexico, had confessed between 2010 and 2017, who before the Brazilian court admitted bribes for four million dollars, equivalent, at that time, to about 50 million pesos .

“There has to be support, the evidence has to be seen, there have to be witnesses, there is talk of a video, I would like to see it, like all Mexicans. Hopefully and it can be done, ”López Obrador said this morning. The president was referring to one of the many leaks that feed the Lozoya case, an alleged series of recordings that would confirm the distribution of money to deputies and senators to approve the structural reforms that the PRI government carried out with the support of the PAN, the PRD and the Green Party.

A few hours after the president’s conference, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero specified in a seminar organized by the Colegio de México that the process mentioned by López Obrador on the statements of the former presidents is not valid for the prosecution. “The president has no legal ties to the prosecution. He makes the statements that he considers useful for his work. You can say what you think is best for you and take political responsibility. But he is not a part of the Public Ministry and a third party cannot affect the functions of this body in his statement. If I said so, I would get into a problem, “added the prosecutor.

Gertz has insisted on remembering that these are two different processes. One, for which Lozoya is accused, and another that was opened on Tuesday after the complaint of this towards alleged accomplices of the corrupt plot. The first against the former director of Pemex, says the prosecutor, is “perfectly supported and specified the damage to the country’s heritage, so much so that we have won the battle in the Spanish courts for his extradition and we achieved the acceptance of the evidence by the judge. Therefore, none of the crimes for which he is accused have been prescribed ”. The controversy over the prescription of corruption crimes after five years has caused controversy these days due to the possibility that one of the most important corruption trials in the country fell on deaf ears.

Regarding the new case, which points directly and, for the first time in history, to a former president of the Government, Enrique Peña Nieto and officials from his top government, such as the Secretary of the Treasury, Luis Videgaray, is still in a preliminary phase. “I did not acquire any responsibility for what that man [Emilio Lozoya] is saying. The man has already presented us his testimonial evidence, videos, documentaries. We are going to see what is probable truth and what helps us to accuse a third party ”, Gertz adds about Lozoya’s complaint that he made public on Tuesday.

Despite his statements this morning, the president remains firm in his belief that any trial against Enrique Peña Nieto must first be submitted to a popular consultation. The president has said that the judicial process that threatens to touch the highest echelons of power in the PRI Administration should be a mechanism to reveal the truth of how political corruption operates. It would be a lesson to avoid a repeat. “I argue that we should think ahead, what we are doing, that there is no corruption,” he added from the National Palace.

But the investigations that are carried out against Emilio Lozoya are not limited to Mexico. Germany has continued to investigate the former official, who is free with a location bracelet after his arrival in Mexico from Spain. The German police searched the houses of the former director of Pemex and his wife, Marielle Helene Eckes, in Bavaria, four days after he had been extradited to their country.

“The Munich public prosecutor’s office is conducting an investigation on Mr. Lozoya and also on Mrs. Eckes for money laundering. In the context of the investigation, on Tuesday, July 21, we have reviewed two locations, one inside and the other outside Munich, ”a spokesman for the Munich prosecutor’s office confirmed to Quinto Element Lab.

According to the publications in various German media, elements of the police searched an apartment in the city center, as well as a luxurious property overlooking Lake Starnberg, in an exclusive area next to the Alps.

The former director of Pemex, who is under investigation in Mexico for having received bribes from two companies, was captured in Malaga, in southern Spain, on July 17. He was later extradited to collaborate with the Mexican authorities. The searches of his wife’s properties in Germany occurred four days later.

Marielle Helene Eckes belongs to one of the wealthiest families in the country and is linked to the founding of the Granini juice company, one of the largest in Europe. In Mexico she is being investigated for the crimes of operations with resources of illicit origin and criminal association. Her husband, in addition to the above charges, is also being investigated for having received bribes from Odebrecht and Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA). The judicial harassment against Lozoya’s family circle, which includes investigations of her mother and sister, was decisive in convincing her to agree to a collaboration with the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the newspaper Süddeutsch Zeitung, Marielle Eckes was not present when her Munich apartment was searched. “The investigators are investigating whether Eckes and Lozoya could have hidden money from Mexico’s bribes in Germany or if at least they channeled it through Germany,” he explained to Quinto Element Lab. This is the first time that the police actions on this case reach the press.

“All the money related to that transaction was money from me and from a loan from my husband, every dollar used (for the purchase of the residence in Ixtapa) was obtained before my husband entered the Government,” Eckes said last year when answered a questionnaire to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Swiss way Tamedia already Fifth Element Lab.