The German authorities intensified the money laundering investigations against the former director of Pemex, Emilio Lozoya Austin and his wife, Marielle Helene Eckes by ordering the search of two properties in the region of Bavaria, in the southeast of the country.
“The Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office is conducting an investigation into Mr. Lozoya and also Ms. Eckes for money laundering. In the context of the investigation, on Tuesday, July 21, we have reviewed two locations, one inside and one outside Munich, ”a spokesman for the Munich prosecutor’s office confirmed to Quinto Element Lab.
The investigation began last year and has been shrouded in great secrecy. This is the first time that the police actions on this case have reached the press. The Munich I prosecutor’s office declined to answer further questions.
The investigation carried out by the German police is independent and different from those carried out by the Attorney General’s Office (FGR). In Mexico, Marielle Eckes is being investigated for the crimes of operations with resources of illicit origin and criminal association and Emilio Lozoya for having received bribes from the companies Odebrecht and Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA).
The registration of Eckes’ properties did not go unnoticed in the German press. Marielle Eckes belongs to the founding family of Eckes Granini Deutschland, the largest European juice company based in Mainz.
According to German radio, tabloid and newspaper publications, elements of the criminal police searched an apartment in the city center of Munich, one block from the River Isar, as well as a luxurious property overlooking Lake Starnberg, in an exclusive residential area at the foot of the Alps, about 50 kilometers from Munich.
“It is not known where Marielle Eckes is. In any case, she was not present when they searched her apartment in Munich, ”reported the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. “As can be heard in official circles, investigators are investigating whether Eckes and her husband could have hidden money from Mexico’s bribes in Germany or if they at least channeled it through Germany.”
“Where is Marielle Eckes?” Asked the news portal Merkur.de. “The woman is considered to be in hiding since her husband Emilio Lozoya was arrested in February this year. Like him, the heir to the juice giant Granini is accused of money laundering and corruption ”.
Captured in Malaga, Lozoya accepted his extradition to collaborate with the Mexican authorities. He arrived in the country at dawn on Friday, July 17, and was admitted to a private hospital in Mexico City for anemia and esophageal complications. The searches of his wife’s properties in Germany occurred four days later.
Germany is a natural destination for the Lozoya Eckes family. In that country, the former director of Pemex studied high school and that was where Eckes was born and spent his childhood and youth.
The Eckes family lives in Munich and the Lozoya Eckes couple used to spend their holidays in Germany. Lozoya’s mother, Gilda Austin, was arrested last year in the north of the country on the tiny island of Juist, where she was with her grandchildren, Lozoya’s children.
Lozoya and Eckes, who have been married for 14 years, are also partners in two companies. According to the German commercial register, they hold shares in two real estate investment companies established in Munich’s financial district: ELMO Wolfsburg and All-ME Hamburg GmbH, according to documents obtained by the Fifth Element Lab and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP ).
In Mexico, a federal judge issued an arrest warrant against Marielle Eckes on July 4, 2019 for the crimes of operations with resources of illicit origin and criminal association. According to the arrest warrant, the FGR identified a bank account in Switzerland, in the name of Tochos Holding Limited, whose beneficiaries were Lozoya and her sister Gilda Susana Lozoya.
From that account came the resources that the former director of Pemex donated to Marielle Eckes to acquire a mansion on the beaches of Ixtapa, through a trust.
“All the money related to that transaction was money from me and from a loan from my husband, every dollar used (for the purchase of the residence in Ixtapa) was obtained before my husband entered the government,” Eckes said last year when responded to a questionnaire for the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Swiss newspaper Tamedia and the Quinto Element Lab.
The FGR presumes that the resources to acquire the residence on the Pacific coast, valued at 1.9 million dollars, have an illicit origin linked to the alleged transfers that Lozoya received from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. The arrest warrant documents that Lozoya’s wife granted a special power of attorney in favor of Juan Carlos Quintana Serur, a lawyer who worked for AHMSA, with the purpose of setting up the trust to acquire the property.
“It is 100% false to say that the lawyer worked for AHMSA,” Eckes said in the aforementioned questionnaire. “He has a law firm with hundreds of clients and I was introduced to him by my husband, who has known him for almost a decade and has supported his family in legal matters for many years. All costs related to his fees were covered by me ”.
Among the evidence that Mexican prosecutors offered a few weeks ago at the hearing where Lozoya was linked to the process for the Odebrecht case, they presented bank documentation from Switzerland, including account statements and payment orders for the purchase of Marielle Eckes’ residence. , the power granted to Juan Carlos Quintana to create the trust in his name and the public deed of the trust that acquired the property. The FGR also maintains that Eckes failed to report these operations to the Treasury.
With these elements assessed by the judge, the arrest warrant against him remains in force. In August 2019, Eckes requested an amparo in order not to be detained, but last March a judge denied her the protection of justice, according to the resolution of the amparo application 666/2019.
Marielle Eckes is an internationalist who in the last five years actively participated in the Boys and Girls Club of Mexico City and the State of Mexico. She presided over the Board of Directors of that philanthropic organization of which her husband was a counselor. The last time Eckes was seen by the press in Mexico was in February 2019, when she participated in the inauguration of the extracurricular activities center that she promoted from that organization in the State of Mexico.
So far, the Mexican Prosecutor’s Office has not confirmed whether there is a search alert issued by Interpol to locate Eckes and although his whereabouts are unknown, there are indications that the Lozoya Eckes family continued with their life in Germany.
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