AHMSA’s former board president avoids prison

AHMSA’s former board president avoids prison

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Mexican integrated steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) said this week a Mexico City judge has canceled a former court decision that could put the company’s former board president, Alonso Ancira, into prison.

AHMSA said a judge has canceled this week an arrest warrant issued on May 2019 by Mexican authorities. Ancira, who wasn’t in Mexico at the time, was detained in Spain over corruption charges, as previously reported by SteelOrbis.

More recently, the Spanish government has authorized the extradition of Ancira, who has a pending money laundering charge in Mexico. Last year, Mexican authorities froze Ancira’s banking accounts, but the freeze has since been lifted.

Despite being detained and then released in Spain, AHMSA re-appointed Ancira in February this year to “continue negotiations with companies interested in the acquisition (of AHMSA assets), a joint venture or any transaction that would improve AHMSA’s financial profile.”

Mexican anti-corruption association, MCCI, claimed in July 2019 AHMSA made payments to Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht, which has been involved and charged in Brazil with corruption and bribery. AHMSA reportedly made a $3.7 million payment to a shell company owned by Odebrecht to advise the steelmaker on a steelworks expansion in Monclova, Mexico.

MCCI said at the time it identified a “similar payment” in an Odebrecht document that lists payments under Odebrecht’s “structured operations” department, a nickname for the “bribery department” of the Brazilian company. In a statement this week, AHMSA denied any wrongdoing.

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