Former Pemex boss Lozoya leaves Spain to face charges in Mexico


Updates with details, context

MADRID, July 16 (Reuters) - A former boss of Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) who is wanted in Mexico, left Spain on Thursday, authorities said, heading back home to face corruption charges that could weigh heavily on the previous government.

A Spanish police spokesman said that the plane carrying former Pemex Chief Executive Emilio Lozoya departed Madrid at 5:57 p.m. (1557 GMT). A Mexican official said the aircraft was heading for Mexico.

Lozoya, who is being extradited from Spain to Mexico, faces allegations of bribery and money laundering dating back to his 2012-16 tenure at the helm of Pemex.

Once a rising star of Mexican politics, the 45-year-old Lozoya has become a key piece in President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's bid to expose graft in and around the government he took over from his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, in late 2018.

Scion of a political family and a former grandee of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Lozoya has agreed to inform Mexican authorities about what went on during the government of Pena Nieto, Lopez Obrador said this week.

Lozoya, who was arrested in the southern Spanish city of Malaga in February, has denied any wrongdoing.

Lawyers for Lozoya have said he acted under the orders of President Pena Nieto, who has also denied any wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado in Madrid and Dave Graham and Diego Ore in Mexico City Editing by Andrei Khalip and Steve Orlofsky)

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