By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Former Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) Director Emilio Lozoya — who is supposed to be under house arrest while awaiting a trial for alleged embezzling and corruption — was photographed on Saturday, Oct. 9, dining at the upscale Hunan Chinese restaurant in Mexico City’s posh Colonia Lomas de Chapultepec.
The photographs, taken by columnist Lourdes Mendoza of El Financiero daily newspaper, show Lozoya sitting at a table with four companions.
“Even with an ankle bracelet monitor, the confessed criminal, Emilio Lozoya, is still living the high life,” wrote Mendoza in a Tweet accompanying the pictures she took with her cell phone.
“This, obviously, thanks to the protection of the Attorney General’s Office. And in addition, he is lying to the civil judge, saying that he is under house arrest.”
In August, a federal judge extended the investigation deadlines on Emilio Lozoya until November in the two cases in which he is being prosecuted, one for receiving bribes in Brazil’s notorious Odebrecht oil scam and the other for the fraudulent purchase and sale of the Agronitrogenados fertilizer plant.
The extension for the trials was granted due to the need to translate various documents received from Germany, Brazil and Belize.
Lozoya has paid back large sums of money to the government and has participated in a plea deal over the past six months in an effort to have all charges dropped against him.
Despite Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) promises of a corruption crackdown, the Lozoya case has drug on since July 2020, when the former Pemex head was extradited from Spain.
Lozoya had fled to Spain after being accused of bribery and has so far not even set foot in jail.
Mexico’s Public Prosecutor’s Office has built its entire case based on the testimony Lozoya, who, at the coaxing of the AMLO administration, has implicated a long list of the president’s enemies.
Moreover, López Obrador has regularly inserted himself into the case, twisting the narrative for his own political ends, which could, theoretically, lead to all charges being dropped due to a violation of Lozoya’s presumption of innocence.
Apparently unperturbed by his upcoming trial, Lozoya seemed to enjoy a hardy meal of Pekin duck on Saturday, but if his testimony against a procession of AMLO foes erodes — as it has threatened to due to the fact that most of his allegations against other former Mexican officials have been unsubstantiated — Lozoya may soon be eating crow instead.