Mexican ex-governor extradition could take up to year -official

MEXICO-CORRUPTION: If Duarte did not fight the process, he could be back in Mexico in two to three months, while the Mexican government would be trying to extradite him as fast as possible

Omar García, Director in Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Mexican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) offeres a news conference about Javier Duarte – Photo: Luis Echeverría/REUTERS
English 17/04/2017 17:06 Reuters Mexico Actualizada 17:09
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The extradition of a former state governor for Mexico's ruling party arrested in Guatemala at the weekend on corruption charges could take up to a year, a senior Mexican official said on Monday.

Javier Duarte, who until last year governed Veracruz state for President Enrique Peña Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), became a symbol of corruption in Mexico and his case is highly politicized with elections looming.

Duarte, who has denied any wrongdoing, faces prosecution for embezzlement and organized crime in Mexico and his successor as governor, Miguel Ángel Yunes (National Action Party, PAN), has accused him of siphoning off billions of pesos from the oil-rich state of Veracruz.

How quickly Duarte faces charges in Mexico would depend on whether he chooses to fight extradition from Guatemala, said Alberto Elías Beltrán, a Deputy Attorney General responsible for International Affairs at the Mexican Attorney General's Office.

"In our experience in the Attorney General's Office on extraditions with Guatemala, we're talking about six months to a year," Elías said on Mexican television when asked how quickly Duarte could be extradited to his homeland.

Still, a lawyer acting for Duarte said at the weekend he believed the former governor would accept his extradition.

Elías said if Duarte did not fight the process, he could be back in Mexico in two to three months, and that the government would be trying to extradite him as fast as possible.

Asked why Duarte's wife had not been arrested, Elías said investigators did not presently have evidence to link her to the accusations laid before the former governor.

Separately, Duarte's successor Yunes, a member of the center-right opposition, told Mexican radio it was hard to say exactly how much money the former PRI grandee had stolen.

But Yunes said Duarte had acquired 10 residential properties worth millions of dollars worldwide, including in Arizona, New York, Spain, Miami and various parts of Mexico.

Critics of Peña Nieto say Duarte's arrest was intended to shore up support for the PRI ahead of a crucial state election in June and the presidential elections next year.

The government, which has been dogged by allegations of corruption and conflicts of interests, denies this. The PRI faces an uphill battle to hold on to the presidency in 2018.



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