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Mexican court orders arrest of ex-Pemex boss pending graft trial

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Mexican court orders arrest of ex-Pemex boss pending graft trial
FILE PHOTO: Emilio Lozoya, former chief Executive Officer of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in Mexico City, Mexico August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo   -   Copyright  Henry Romero(Reuters)
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MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – A Mexican court ruled on Monday to allow the arrest of Emilio Lozoya, former chief executive of state-owned oil company Pemex, who is facing corruption charges, according to a court document dated Monday and seen by Reuters.

The decision nullified an earlier ruling that suspended an arrest warrant against Lozoya issued last month. “The suspension that had been granted is null and void,” the document said.

Mexican authorities say the case centres on bribes paid in connection with the purchase by Pemex of a fertilizer plant under the previous government. Reuters could not reach Lozoya for comment. He has always denied wrongdoing and defended the fertilizer factory purchase as a wise investment.

“I know perfectly well that he committed no crime,” one of Lozoya’s lawyers, Javier Coello, told local radio on Monday, vowing to fight the charges at trial.

The government’s move against Lozoya is one of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s boldest steps, since taking office in December, to fulfil a campaign promise to stamp out corruption.

(Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutiérrez, Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Susan Thomas)

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