Mexican steel magnate extradited from Spain to face graft accusations

MEXICO CITY, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Mexican authorities are bringing the chairman of a leading steelmaker home from Spain to face corruption charges, Mexican Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said on Wednesday.

Alonso Ancira, chairman of the board at Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA), was detained in Spain in 2019 amid a probe by the Mexican government into corruption allegations within state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

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 regular news conference that Ancira was heading to Mexico in custody of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR).

“I understand that he’s flying in a FGR plane from Spain to Mexico,” she said, adding he will have to face a criminal process.

“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.”

Pemex’s former chief executive officer, 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 declined to comment. The company previously said Ancira was innocent of corruption accusations.

Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Diego Ore Additional reporting by Noe Torres Editing by Chris Reese