Brazilian tycoon Marcelo Odebrecht, protagonist of the largest corruption scandal in Latin America, personally intervened in 2013 to manage support for the energy reform of the Enrique Peña Nieto government, reveals a chain of emails obtained by Mexicanos against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI).
The intervention of the then president of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht was at the request of a character who is identified in the emails with the initials “EL”, which coincide with those of Emilio Lozoya, then director of Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
The emails obtained by MCCI are part of a package of files that Marcelo Odebrecht delivered just in March 2019 to the investigation team of the Lava Jato case in Curitiba, Brazil, as part of the collaboration agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office of that South American country.
Luis Weyll and Luiz Mameri, two of the characters who have confessed that they intervened in paying bribes to Lozoya, intervene in the mail exchange.
Odebrecht’s email chain with Weyll and Mameri started almost seven years ago, on August 19, a week after Peña Nieto presented his energy reform initiative to Congress. The communications concluded on September 3 and the following month, on October 1, Peña received Marcelo at the official residence of Los Pinos.
That amount was transferred in two parts: one million dollars on December 3 and 480 thousand dollars on the 10th of the same month, as MCCI has documented in previous reports.
They sought to convince Lula and Cárdenas
In the emails that MCCI now presents, Odebrecht executives mention the steps they were taking to obtain statements in favor of EPN’s energy reform, from the former president of Brazil, Lula da Silva; from the director of Petrobras, Graça Foster, from the leader of the Mexican left Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas and from his son Lázaro, former governor of Michoacán and current chief adviser to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
On August 19, Weyll sent Marcelo Odebrecht the following email titled “Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas-Energy Reform” in which he reported the “latest movements” on the initiative that Peña Nieto had submitted to Congress a week earlier:
“In the process of approving the energy reform, it will not be easy to keep the PRD united around the ‘PACT’. The PRI with the PAN reaches the majority necessary to approve the amendment to the Constitution. Regarding the request for support for the interview, former President Lula has certainly taken into account the position of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas “(who was opposed to the reform).
Five minutes later, Marcelo Odebrecht responded to Weyll with this brief message: “Lula’s relationship is with the one who was our client. His son ”; Apparently he was referring to Lázaro Cárdenas Batel, the son of Cuauhtémoc, who, as governor of Michoacán in 2005, had hired the services of Odebrecht to build a dam in Tierra Caliente.
Almost immediately, Weyll clarified to Marcelo that with whom Lula had a long relationship was with Cuauhtémoc; “Her son Lázaro Cárdenas, who is increasingly removed from Mexican politics, has lived in Washington for more than 4 years,” said the person who was the director of Odebrecht in Mexico at the time.
“The old relationship (from Cuauhtémoc with Lula) may be, but the most recent one too? In any case, father and son must position themselves equally, ”replied Marcelo.
“Recent too,” Weyll replied. “Lula’s last contacts have been with Eng. Cuauhtémoc. Certainly father and son are aligned. My assessment is that Eng. Cuauhtémoc is not satisfied with his son’s departure from politics and his stay in the United States. ” (Lázaro Cárdenas Batel reappeared in politics when he joined Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s cabinet in 2018).
The following day, August 20, communication was resumed by a message that Marcelo Odebrecht sent to Weyll and Mameri, in which – based on an article he had just read – he suggested the position that Lula should take:
“When reading the article, it is clear that the PRD itself also proposes a reform, not as comprehensive as that of the PRI. As an alternative solution, Lula could reinforce that:
“1) Agrees with the need for reform, consensus of all (achieve it without friction)
“2) What happened here in Brazil was very positive for Petrobras (with facts and without comparing with Mexico, but that the reporter can compare)
“3) That regarding specific parts of the Mexican reform, he prefers that it be left to the decision of the Mexicans.”
That day, in the afternoon, Weyll sent Alexandrino Alencar, another Odebrecht manager linked to the bribery plot, the following email titled “Request for support”:
The enigmatic intermediary “EL”
The message does not clarify who requested the support to which it refers. But a day later, on August 21, the initials “EL” (which coincide with those of Emilio Lozoya) appeared in the emails as the intermediary with Odebrecht.
Marcelo wrote that he had interceded with Graça Foster, then director of Petrobras, to make statements in favor of the energy reform:
“I just spoke to Graça. She is willing to speak and comment on how the breakdown of the monopoly here in Brazil was positive for Petrobras. I told her that someone from Televisa would look for her. “
He asked Alexandrino Alencar: “don’t tell Lula or anyone about Graça so they don’t want to elastic (colloquial expression in Brazil that means to spoil) ”.
That day at night, Weyll replied to Marcelo: “EL (initials that could correspond to Lozoya) was very satisfied with the Graça Foster interview, and took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of Lula’s interview.”
On August 22, Weyll informed Marcelo that the Brazilian ambassador to Mexico, Marcos Raposo, had informed him that Cuauhtémoc was organizing a seminar or forum for September to express his rejection of the energy reform.
“He (Raposo) informed Brasilia (referring to the Brazilian government) about the conflict that is taking place between the PRI and the PRD, he does not want to take sides, much less be upset with the EPN government.”
In the emails that Marcelo shared with the Brazilian police, no further communications appear on the subject for 10 days.
It was not until September 3 when Weyll wrote again to inform him that “EL” (possibly Lozoya) was now negotiating with the Brazilian ambassador a statement by Lula in favor of the energy reform:
“Marcos Raposo commented that after speaking with EL, he reviewed his position regarding the participation of Graça Foster in the seminar organized by Ing. Cárdenas. EL indicated that he considered that GF’s participation was positive, so he has the opportunity to comment on the benefits that Petrobras has achieved by opening the market. He also asked MR (initials of Marcos, the ambassador) for support in obtaining the interview with Lula. ”
Odebrecht did not achieve its objective of influencing Cárdenas, because on September 19, 2013, the engineer allied with the then president of the Morena national council, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to form a front that sought to avoid the approval of the energy reform of Peña grandson.