Associates of Ex-Chief of Mexico’s State-Owned Oil Firm Connected to 18 Previously Unidentified Companies

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An investigation by Sayari has uncovered 18 previously unidentified companies directly connected to associates and corporate advisors of Emilio Ricardo Lozoya Austin, the former director of Mexico’s state-owned oil firm Pemex. Lozoya was recently arrested in Malaga, Spain, on behalf of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, who has charged him with bribery, fraud, and money laundering.

These findings shed more light on the vast corporate network related to associates and key advisors of Lozoya—a few of which are already under investigation by Mexican authorities—raising fresh questions as to how these companies could have potentially been used by Lozoya to carry out his alleged illicit financial activity.

Lozoya’s Arrest in Spain and His Alleged Connections to Odebrecht

On February 12, Spanish officials, acting on an Interpol Red Notice, arrested Emilio Lozoya in Malaga on behalf of a request from Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office. The Mexican government has charged Lozoya with bribery, fraud, and money laundering in connection to two ongoing investigations.

The first case involves the overvalued purchase of two agrochemical companies, Agro Nitrogenados S.A. de C.V. and Grupo Fertinal S.A. de C.V., by Pemex during Lozoya’s tenure as director. The second case stems from an international bribery investigation involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Between 2012 and 2014, the company purportedly bribed Lozoya $10 million in exchange for a contract to build an oil refinery in central Mexico. At least a portion of the funds were allegedly transferred from Odebrecht to a Swiss bank account held by Latin America Asia Capital Holding, a company based in the British Virgin Islands. The company was registered under the name of Lozoya’s sister, Gilda Lozoya, according to Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office.

Odebrecht’s involvement in bribing public officials extended beyond Mexico. Between 2001 and 2016, the firm paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials across Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa for access to lucrative public works contracts, while simultaneously creating shell companies to obfuscate the illicit payments. To date, the investigation has involved various countries across Latin America and Africa and has resulted in the arrest of several high-ranking government officials in Brazil, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, among others.

While currently awaiting extradition to Mexico, Emilio Lozoya is the first Mexican national to be arrested in connection to Odebrecht. Lozoya’s mother, Gilda Austin, was arrested by German law enforcement officials in July 2019 for money laundering. Lozoya’s wife, Marielle Eckes, and sister Gilda Lozoya, are at large and currently have outstanding arrest warrants issued by Mexican officials.

The Corporate Footprint of Emilio Lozoya, et al.

Lozoya’s corporate footprint spans Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, and the British Virgin Islands, according to various media reports.

Additionally, a recent investigation by Quinto Elemento Lab identified an investment fund called Makech Capital that was founded by Lozoya along with a former Pemex colleague, Rodrigo Arteaga Santoyo, six months after Lozoya’s tenure as director had ended. Three other Pemex associates, Edgar Torres Garrido, Francisco Olascoaga Rodriguez, and Mariana Garcia de la Cadena Salas, are also connected to the fund, along with a team of corporate advisors including Francisco Javier Escobedo Caraza, Francisco Javier Serafín Villalobos, and Douglas Nuñez Fernández. Makech Capital is currently under investigation by Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for its possible involvement in Lozoya’s alleged bribery and money laundering schemes.

The investigation also found that Makech Capital was registered as a trademark in December 2016, with the holder of the trademark being a Mexico City-based company founded by Lozoya called Grupo Interamericano de Financiamiento para el Desarrollo S.A.P.I. de C.V.

Lozoya’s associates and advisors are themselves directly connected to 13 companies that either share addresses with properties associated to Makech and/or Grupo Interamericano, or share common shareholders and control parties, according to the investigation. The fact that these companies either share addresses with Makech Capital and Grupo Interamericano, or list many of the same related parties, suggests that they could also potentially be involved in Lozoya’s alleged financial wrongdoing and thus warrant further scrutiny.

Finally, Mexico’s FIU has purportedly blocked the bank accounts of Francisco Serafín and Douglas Nuñez—two of Lozoya’s advisors—along with several other unidentified companies and individuals related to the Lozoya investigation.

Sayari Identifies 18 Companies Connected to Lozoya’s Associates and Advisors

Using Sayari Graph and other open sources, analysts uncovered an additional 18 previously unidentified companies directly connected to the aforementioned associates and corporate advisors of Emilio Lozoya. Sixteen of the 18 companies are registered in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Mexico State, and Queretaro, and their stated business purposes range from software development for the public and private sectors, to the purchase and/or sale of real estate. Two companies are located in Texas, one registered in Austin and the other in Houston.

Twelve of the 18 companies were incorporated between 2012 and 2017, either roughly coinciding with Lozoya’s tenure as director of Pemex, or shortly after his directorship ended. The time period also overlaps with the time frame during which Odebrecht allegedly bribed Lozoya, raising questions as to whether these companies could have also potentially been used to launder the proceeds of alleged bribe payments.

Company NameConnection to Associate and/or Advisor of Emilio Lozoya
IQ Data Bisa, S.A. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the Apoderado.
Implementacion de Espacios Arquitectonicos, S.A. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the 20% Shareholder and Treasurer.
Cork & Spirits de Mexico, S.A. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as Legal Representative and Apoderado.  

Francisco Javier Escobedo Caraza was listed as the Treasurer and Apoderado when the company was founded in May 2007. In October 2014, he became the Administrador Único (Sole Administrator). 
Mexico Trader del Caribe, S.A. de C.V. Douglas Nuñez Fernandez is listed as the Apoderado Francisco Javier Escobedo Caraza is listed as the Comisario.
PYRQ, S.A. de C.V. Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the Apoderado.
Ingenieria Aplicada del Puerto, S.A. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the 50% Shareholder and Apoderado.
Ingenieria y Diseño Electromecanico Aplicado, S.A. de C.V. Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the 30% Shareholder and Treasurer.
Dyson Glenn S.R.L de C.V. Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the 1% Shareholder and Secretary.

Francisco Javier Serafín Villalobos is listed as the Comisario.
Mesoamericana de Ingenieria, S.A. de C.V.Rodrigo Arteaga Santoyo is listed as the 50% Shareholder.
Comercializadora Old Eagle S.A. de C.V. Francisco Javier Escobedo Caraza is listed as the 50% Shareholder and Secretary.
BIP Bussines Inteligence Profesionals, S.A de C.V. Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the Apoderado

Francisco Javier Escobedo Caraza is listed as the Treasurer.
Grupo Velagos, S.A. de C.V. Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the Apoderado.
Emociones y Sustentabilidad Personal, S.A. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the Apoderado.
Estrategias de Rentabilidad, S.A. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the Apoderado.
Technology Innovation and Talent Corporation, S.A.P.I. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the Apoderado.
Grupo GSE Satelite de Mexico S.A. de C.V.Douglas Nuñez Fernández is listed as the 49% Shareholder and Treasurer.
Jaddina Services LLC Francisco Javier Escobedo Caraza is listed as the Manager.
Apo Services, LLCFrancisco Javier Escobedo Caraza is listed as the Director.

While the identified companies are not directly connected to Lozoya, the fact that known associates and advisors—two of which have had their bank accounts frozen in relation to the investigation—are directly associated, raises new questions as to whether these businesses could potentially have been used by Lozoya to further his alleged illicit financial activities. These companies, along with other related parties associated with the companies, deserve further scrutiny, and could provide new avenues of investigation for Mexican authorities.