Mexico to request extradition of former Chihuahua governor

MEXICO CITY: Mexico's federal government said Wednesday it will file extradition requests for a former ruling party governor accused of diverting public funds.

The suspect is Cesar Duarte, the former governor of the northern border state of Chihuahua. He is believed to be in the United States.

The state's new opposition governor, Javier Corral, accused Duarte of diverting public money to the 2016 electoral campaign of President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

In December, authorities in Chihuahua detained a former top PRI official, Alejandro Gutierrez, for allegedly participating in a scheme to divert about 240 million pesos ($12 million) in public funds for political campaigning.

Duarte was governor of Chihuahua in 2010-2016 and was succeeded last year by Corral, a member of the conservative opposition National Action Party.

Corral has accused the federal government of dragging its feet on the extradition requests. He also claims the federal government has withheld funding for Chihuahua in retaliation for the corruption probe.

Acting attorney general Alberto Elias Beltran said Wednesday that three extradition requests will be filed this week — two on state charges and one on a federal electoral law violation.

Duarte, who last year denied involvement in any wrongdoing, is one of several PRI ex-governors who fled the country following accusations of corruption in a string of embarrassments for the party.

Former Gov. Javier Duarte of Veracruz, who is not related to Cesar Duarte, was arrested in Guatemala in April, and ex-Gov. Tomas Yarrington of Tamaulipas was arrested the same month in Italy. Both were PRI politicians