Mexico seeks extradition of ex-governor Javier Duarte after arrest in Guatemala

Jen Offord
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Javier Duarte de Ochoa, the fugitive former governor of the Mexican state Veracruz, has been arrested on corruption charges after he was detained in Guatemala. Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office said Duarte was wanted for money laundering and organised crime and they would request his extradition back to Mexico.

Duarte, 43, had been on the run for six months when he was apprehended in Guatemala as a result of a joint operation by the country's police force and Interpol. He had been governor of Veracruz for six years from 2010 to his resignation in October 2016.

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Speaking last year after he was accused of having links to phantom businesses that had successfully bid for state contracts, Duarte denied the accusations against him. He said: "I don't have foreign accounts, I don't have properties anywhere."

Representatives of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) said Duarte was found at a hotel where he had been staying with his wife.

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When asked to leave the room he did so without resisting, Interpol said.

As Duarte arrived at a military base in the country's capital, flanked by police, he gave no comment, according to the Associated Press.

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Duarte stood down last year in order to face the allegations against him, he said, after it was claimed that the Mexican government had found millions of dollars linked to him. However, Duarte disappeared shortly afterwards and had not been seen again until now.

His arrest coincides with that of another ex-governor, Tomás Yarrington, of Tamaulipas state, who was arrested in Italy on suspicion of organised crime and money laundering. Meanwhile, César Duarte Jáquez, former governor of Chihuahua state and along with both others, a member of the Revolution Party (PRI), is wanted on suspicion of corruption.

In a statement issued after Duarte's arrest, the party said: "The PRI calls for all the relevant investigations to be carried out and, respecting due process, for the ex-governor of Veracruz to be punished in an exemplary fashion, as well as anyone who is confirmed to have taken part in his criminal ring."

Mexico's Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte

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