Alonso Ancira, chairman of the board at Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA), was detained in Palma in 2019

Alonso Ancira, chairman of the board at Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA), was detained in Palma in 2019.

04-02-2021J.P. MARTINEZ

The chairman of a leading Mexican steelmaker arrived back in his homeland from Mallorca on Wednesday afternoon to face corruption charges, Mexican officials said.

Alonso Ancira, chairman of the board at Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA), was detained in Mallorca in 2019 as the Mexican government probed allegations of corruption within state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said on Wednesday morning he was being extradited from Mallorca, and two Mexican officials familiar with the matter later said the plane transporting him had landed in Mexico City in the afternoon.

A judicial source said federal prosecutors had requested an initial hearing with Ancira on Wednesday evening.

Separately, newspaper Reforma said a judge had granted Ancira a request that he initially not be held under arrest provided he paid a bond of some 50,000 pesos ($2,500). Judicial authorities were unable to immediately confirm the report.

A Spanish court late last year rejected Ancira's claim that he was the victim of political persecution, and ordered his extradition.

Sanchez told a news conference that Ancira was heading to Mexico in custody of the Attorney General's Office (FGR).

"What the president has said is that he should return what is owed to us ... that we have the possibility to return to the treasury what was illegally taken," Sanchez said, referring to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Former Pemex Chief Executive Emilio Lozoya was extradited from Spain last year to face corruption charges, in part over the company's costly purchase of an out-of-service fertilizer plant from AHMSA.

AHMSA said in a statement it continued to support Ancira and that it believed the matter would soon be resolved. The company previously said Ancira was innocent of corruption accusations.

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