Luis Alberto Meneses Weyll was the main Odebrecht official who bribed Emilio Lozoya Austin. He was the one who confessed to the Brazilian justice to have delivered 10.5 million dollars to the public servant between 2012 and 2014, and who put the former director of Pemex in the spotlight with his accusations revealed in 2017.
Now, Meneses Weyll denies the versions that Lozoya Austin is offering to the Mexican justice in his attempt to obtain preferential treatment.
There was no money from Odebrecht for Enrique Peña Nieto’s campaign, nor were there bribes for legislators to approve the energy reform, nor were there payments to obtain contracts for an ethane plant in the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Meneses Weyll assured through from his lawyer, Carlos Kauffmann.
“The only one who knows what he did with the money is Lozoya Austin himself (…) he is trying to award him payments outside of Odebrecht, payments that are not from Odebrecht (…) If someone is trying to place in Meneses Weyll or at Odebrecht payments that were not made, we are not going to admit that, “said lawyer Kauffmann in the first interview he gives to the Mexican press.
Lozoya, collaborating witness. After being extradited to Mexico last July, Lozoya Austin asked the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) for the possibility of acting as a “collaborating witness” to provide essential information on the corruption scheme. With this criterion of opportunity, he hopes to offer his confessions in exchange for the authorities not taking criminal action against him.
In his 63-page complaint filed with the FGR, Lozoya Austin points to alleged Odebrecht bribes to legislators, contributions to the Peña Nieto campaign, and mentions the involvement of officials from the Calderón and Peña governments. These accusations are classified as falsehoods by Meneses Weyll’s legal defense.
According to Lozoya, when he was working on the Peña Nieto campaign in early 2012, he met with Meneses Weyll at the El Globo cafeteria in las Lomas to ask him for $ 6 million on behalf of the presidential candidate: “I told [Meneses] Weyll that this request came directly from the then candidate Peña Nieto and that Odebrecht would benefit when it won. He told me he saw it well, “said Lozoya.
The official provided more details: Meneses Weyll replied that Odebrecht would contribute 4 million dollars, of which 2.5 million would be in full for Peña’s campaign, with which the Brazilian firm hoped to position itself with the PRI. Lozoya gave him the details of a bank account he had in Switzerland to which the deposits were transferred between April and June 2012.
Kauffmann denied that Meneses Weyll had given money expressly to finance the Peñista campaign. According to the lawyer, no more payments were made than those previously reported by the former head of Odebrecht in Mexico: “Luis [Meneses] Weyll took full responsibility for all the payments he made and checked all the payments with documents, but he will not be held responsible for what he did not do, “he told Quinto Element Lab through a videoconference from Brazil.
Meneses Weyll had already delivered to Brazilian prosecutors since 2016 the records that verify the transfers made to Lozoya’s accounts, but Meneses Weyll said that the bribes only went to Lozoya: “On the pretext of having helped me in positioning the company in Veracruz and Tula told me that he understood that I had to make a payment in their favor of the order of 5 million dollars, “the former head of Odebrecht told Brazilian prosecutors.
According to Lozoya’s account, two key meetings helped to strengthen the relationship between the owner of the construction company, Marcelo Odebrecht and Luis Alberto Meneses Weyll, with Peña Nieto and Luis Videgaray Caso.
In April 2010, according to the former CEO of Pemex, Peña Nieto traveled to Brazil as governor of the State of Mexico and met with the directors of the Brazilian company: “At the end of the meal, Marcelo Odebrecht and Luis [Meneses] Weyll offered economic support to Peña Nieto in his possible candidacy as a presidential candidate, “he said.
The second meeting, as president-elect, was in September 2012 at the home of Marcelo Odebrecht in Sao Paulo, the former official said: “There, a more direct relationship began to be built between the Odebrecht consortium and the Peña Nieto government, From then on, his main interlocutors were Videgaray Caso and that of the voice [Lozoya]”.
However, Kauffmann assures that the former director of Odebrecht in Mexico had no contact with any other former official: “Luis [Meneses] Weyll only had direct contact with Emilio Lozoya. He never had contact with the president or other legislators, “emphasized the lawyer, who made it clear that Meneses was not aware of the destination of the bribes.
“What Emilio Lozoya did with the payments, that did not compete with Luis [Meneses] Weyll decide or question (…) The only one who knows what he did is Emilio Lozoya “.
A video circulated on YouTube last August and featured two former Senate employees linked to former PAN senators, receiving wads of bills allegedly as part of the bribes that Emilio Lozoya arranged for legislators who voted in favor of the energy reform.
Days before the video was leaked, the former Pemex director confessed to having paid opposition legislators to pass the reform. He spoke of 80 million pesos distributed to a deputy and six senators between 2013 and 2014. The resources came from Odebrecht and were deposited into an account in the Neue Bank in the name of the company Zecapan SA, to be distributed according to the instructions of Videgaray Case, according to the confession of Lozoya Austin.
“Odebrecht knew that the resources it contributed as of 2013 were mostly to influence and support the efforts that former President Peña Nieto negotiated with the Congress of the Union,” said Lozoya Austin.
For the former CEO of Pemex, the Brazilian construction company not only sought contracts and benefits from the government, it also actively participated in the country’s energy policy: “When the energy reform was approved, we were congratulated by Odebrecht for having achieved what it had not been done before. They were happy because with this reform they could obtain a greater volume of work “.
These allegations were also denied by Carlos Kauffmann, who said that Odebrecht Infrastructure never had an interest in the energy reform nor did it benefit from any contract derived from its approval: “If there was no interest and if they did not want to enter into energy reform contracts, this [Odebrecht] I would not pay legislators to act on the reform, “said Meneses Weyll’s defender.
Lozoya Austin also accused that Odebrecht bribed Calderón Hinojosa government officials to favor the Braskem company, an Odebrecht subsidiary, at the Etileno XXI plant in the state of Veracruz.
According to Lozoya, Meneses Weyll told him that Braskem had given bribes in 2010 and 2012 for the approval of the Ethylene XXI contract and assured that afterwards more bribes were given to manage an extension:
“Many PAN members during Felipe Calderón’s six-year term received large sums of money and with this Braskem positioned itself so much that I even remember that they did part of a session of its Board of Directors in Los Pinos, with the presence of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa”, detailed the former official.
Meneses Weyll’s lawyer pointed out that his client did not make any payment for the award of the contract: “There are no reports in that sense, there is no reason (…) If there had been payments, Luis [Meneses] Weyll would have already said it, “Kauffmann said.
Willing to collaborate. More than eight months have passed since Emilio Lozoya Austin was arrested in Malaga, Spain; More than three months have passed since he was extradited from Europe and half the time granted by the judges for the FGR to integrate his case has already been exhausted, but the Mexican justice has not yet sought the main whistleblower of Lozoya Austin to contrast his statements .
“Luis [Meneses] Weyll remains at the disposal of the Mexican authorities to report whatever is necessary (…) he is committed only to the truth. Then, once the international commitments made are respected, he is available to make further clarifications when necessary, “said Kauffmann.
In order for Mexican prosecutors to be able to question the former director of Odebrecht, they must sign an agreement (or a term of commitment) in which they undertake not to use the evidence obtained against Meneses Weyll himself in the criminal, civil or administrative sphere.
Luis Alberto Meneses Weyll, Hilberto Alves da Silva and Luiz Antonio Mameri were the three former Odebrecht executives whose statements uncovered the scandal against Lozoya Austin. They availed themselves of a law that offers the possibility of reducing their punishments if they collaborate with the Brazilian justice by providing evidence and data to solve the corruption scheme.
At the request of the Mexican prosecutor’s office, Meneses Weyll was interrogated in March 2017 at the headquarters of the Public Ministry in the city of Salvador, northeast of Brazil, but his lawyer confirmed that he has not been sought again now that Lozoya Austin has been captured and is offering their versions before the FGR.
“Luis [Meneses] Weyll is in Brazil. You can speak with the Mexican authorities as long as the commitment made with the Brazilian authorities is respected, “said Kauffmann.
Bribery was the amount that Emilio Lozoya received between 2012 and 2014.
Since the former director of Pemex was arrested in Spain and three months since his extradition.