MADRID (AP) â€” A Spanish court ruled Thursday that a former head of Mexico’s state oil company must remain in custody while an extradition case is heard against him.
A judge ruled that Emilio Lozoya is a flight risk, according to a statement from the National Court in Madrid.
Mexico issued international arrest warrants against Lozoya last year as a result of corruption investigations. Lozoya has denied wrongdoing.
When he was arrested Wednesday in the southeastern Spanish port of Malaga, Lozoya had a driving license bearing his photograph but a different name, according to the court statement. The judge took that as an attempt to evade justice.
Spanish authorities said Lozoya had entered Spain two days earlier, but a search had been on for him throughout Europe since May.
He is one of the most high-profile detentions for alleged corruption under Mexico’s current president, President AndrĂ©s Manuel LĂłpez Obrador, who has vowed to crack down on graft.
Lozoya was the director of Pemex between 2012 and 2016, during the administration of former President Enrique PeĂ±a Nieto. He had also been a key member of PeĂ±a Nieto’s presidential campaign.
Last year, LĂłpez Obrador’s administration issued a number of orders for his arrest. One tied him to the bribery scandal of Brazilian construction behemoth Odebrecht and another to the sale of a fertilizer plant to Pemex at allegedly inflated prices.
The Spanish judge’s ruling referenced an â€śelaborate schemeâ€ť to use resources of illegal origin and participation in acts of corruption â€śtied to the offer of illegal contracts to his favor on the part of Pemex in exchange for a property.â€ť
The Spanish government, citing Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, said Lozoya allegedly defrauded the government of $280 million.
The arrest was heralded as a clear win for LĂłpez Obrador, who has made eradicating corruption the central pillar of his administration.
The president said Thursday at his morning press conference that investigators â€śmust get to the bottomâ€ť of the case to hold all those involved responsible.
â€śThere isn’t protection for anyone,â€ť he said. â€śWe proposed ending corruption and that is what we are doing. We’re not going to let anything go, zero corruption, zero impunity.â€ť