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  HOME | Mexico

Pemex Official Faces Corruption Charges

MEXICO CITY – The comptroller’s office has filed two criminal complaints with federal prosecutors against an official of Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, for alleged “acts of corruption” that cost the state-owned oil giant $13 million.

Maria Karen Miyasaki Hara, deputy director of intermediate distillate sales for Pemex unit PMI Comercio Internacional, has been suspended and faces additional administrative penalties, comptroller Salvador Vega said.

Miyasaki used her office, which oversees imports and exports of petroleum products in foreign markets, to conduct several unnecessary purchase and sale transactions between August and December 2008, Vega said.

The Pemex official bought and sold several shipments of low-sulfur diesel “for the apparent economic benefit of foreign companies, harming PMI,” the comptroller said.

The comptroller’s office has confirmed and documented four transactions executed by the suspect, who apparently acted alone.

One of the companies involved in the questionable transactions is Blue Oil Trading, which was created by Miyasaki’s husband in 2007.

Miyasaki acquired 329,000 barrels of diesel from Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan for $27.6 million in the Japanese port city of Chiba, but she sold it to Blue Oil Trading for some $28 million.

She repurchased the same diesel shipment from Blue Oil Trading for $34.6 million a few days later as the tanker was heading to Pemex’s facilities in the northwestern state of Baja California.

This deal alone cost Pemex $4.5 million, not including associated expenses, the comptroller’s office said.

Investigators looked at financial dealings by Miyasaki, who has assets and bank accounts not included on her personal financial disclosure form.

Miyasaki made “bank deposits whose origin is not known,” the comptroller’s office said.

The Pemex official, who began working for the state-owned oil company in 1997, has more than 16 million pesos ($1.2 million) in 13 bank accounts that she did not report.

The comptroller’s office filed criminal complaints against Miyasaki with the Attorney General’s Office related to unreported financial transactions and self-dealing.

Miyasaki faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted on the charges, AG’s office inspector general Cesar Chavez said. EFE
 

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