(Recasts, adds comments from trial)
MEXICO CITY, July 29 (Reuters) - Pemex former chief executive Emilio Lozoya on Wednesday denied receiving millions of dollars in bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, in the second day of court hearings into corruption allegations against him.
Lozoya, who was extradited to Mexico from Spain earlier this month, has become a key witness in prosecutors’ efforts to reveal graft in the previous administration, which President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says was mired in corruption.
Lozoya was chief executive of Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil company which is known formally as Petroleos Mexicanos, from 2012 to 2016 under former President Enrique Pena Nieto. The 45-year-old Lozoya has persistently denied any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors allege that before becoming Pemex’s boss, Lozoya solicited and received funds from Odebrecht and funneled cash into Pena Nieto’s 2012 presidential campaign.
At the hearing, prosecutors said that before the 2012 election, Lozoya had met “constantly” with Luis Alberto de Meneses Weyll, who at the time was Odebrecht’s Mexico CEO, and promised to grant Odebrecht contracts if Pena Nieto was elected, said judicial authorities, who informed media remotely of proceedings because reporters are not allowed to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Odebrecht has admitted paying bribes in Mexico.
Lozoya also offered a government job to Meneses Weyll if Pena Nieto won the election, prosecutors say.
Prosecutors alleged Lozoya received $10.5 million worth of bribes from Odebrecht and hid the money in secret bank accounts and companies held by his family members.
Lozoya said he was innocent of the allegations and would “denounce” those responsible for the crimes, as he did about a separate set of charges on Tuesday.
Lopez Obrador has cast Lozoya’s trial as a “watershed” moment and a chance for Mexico to rid itself of abuses by venal political elites.
Pena Nieto has not been charged with anything. (Reporting by Dave Graham; writing by Drazen Jorgic; editing by Leslie Adler)