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Cesar Duarte Jaquez, from the Institutional Revolution Party, is the seventh former governor from the party to face corruption charges during the current administration.
The General Public Prosecutor’s Office in Mexico has announced it is preparing an extradition request for former state governor Cesar Duarte Jaquez in connection with 10 corruption charges at state level and one federal count of electoral fraud.
Duarte Jaquez was the governor of the Mexican northern state of Chihuahua, the biggest state in Mexico, from 2010 to 2016. He was the local leader of the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI), which currently rules the country.
Duarte Jaquez stands accused of forming a “corruption network” which helped him to steal more than a billion Mexican pesos (about US$53million), according to the request filed Wednesday.
The opposition National Action Party (PAN) won the state elections in 2016, vowing to put Duarte Jaquez in jail for corruption, including establishing a bank in his name with public money.
As soon as Duarte Jaquez’s party lost the state elections, he fled the country and was later seen in El Paso, Texas. He is now facing 11 charges with three outstanding warrants for his arrest, but the extradition request had been on hold since last year.
Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral has also condemned the federal government for protecting Duarte Jaquez, a member of the national ruling party, over his role in another recently discovered corruption case involving electoral fraud in 2015 in favour of the PRI.
The situation between the federal and state governments has grown tense of late, with Corral recently declaring he had “broken up” with the federal administration.
Since Corral took office, several members of Duarte Jaquez’s administration have been jailed or face criminal charges, including two officers and the capital’s mayor.
One, Antonio Tarin, avoided jail by hiding inside the National Congress and swearing-in at the lower chamber in place of a representative who had died abruptly.
In Enrique Peña Nieto‘s government, six state ex-governors from his PRI party and two from PAN have been arrested for crimes including embezzlement, money laundering, abuse of authority, illegal enrichment and involvement with organized crime.
Governing Secretary Alfonso Navarrete said the three extradition requests are meant to “comply with constitutional obligations” and not to “calm down” Chihuahua Governor Corral, who has called on the people of Chihuahua to protest against impunity.
Acting Attorney General Alberto Elias said his office received 11 criminal accusations against Duarte Jaquez in 2017 and is now processing the extradition requests.
“This week, we will present three: two for the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s office and one for the federal branch,” Elias told reporters.