Spanish authorities announced that they have extradited Mexico’s largest integrated steel plant Altos Hornos de Mexico former chairman Mr Alonso Ancira to Mexico to face trial for corruption and money laundering. Mr Ancira was arrested in Mallorca in Spain in May 2019 as he boarded a plane to Canada and was imprisoned for his outstanding charges in Mexico. Last November, Mr Ancira tried to stop Spanish authorities from extraditing him, but a local court rejected his motion. He is expected to appear before a judge in Mexico City and be imprisoned at Reclusorio Norte.
Mr Ancira faces corruption and money laundering charges after he was implicated in the fraudulent sale-purchase of Agros Nitrogenados, a plant fertilizer firm and subsidiary of AHMSA. According to court documents, Ancira sold the firm at an inflated price to Mr Emilio Lozoya, former chief of the state-owned oil company Pemex. Mr Lozoya bought Agro Nitrogenados for USD 475 million when the property was only worth USD 50 million. In addition to this fraudulent sale-purchase, Mexican investigators discovered that AHMSA paid millions in bribes to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht and one of its subsidiaries. The subsidiary acted as a shell company and part of the bribes were shared with Mr Lozoya. This corruption case unfolded during the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto
Mr Ancira was born in Mexico City in 1952. He studied law at the University of Anahuac and got an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Incarnate Word and Texas A&M University. In 1991, he was promoted to Managing Director of AHMSA, and in 1993 he became the President of the National Chamber of Iron and Steel. By 2004, he was appointed as the President of AHMSA and all its subsidiaries. Mr Ancira was at one point the riches person in Coahuila, where he lived, and one of the richest businessmen in Mexico.