The former governor of Veracruz has gone missing amid a flurry of corruption allegations, dealing another heavy blow to the credibility of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s scandal-plagued administration.
Mexican officials, who suspect that former Gov. Javier Duarte may have left the country, have requested that the international police body Interpol participate in the search for him in 190 countries, reported El País.
Duarte resigned from his post as governor of Veracruz on October 12 to face over 50 allegations against him, according to El País. Officials said on October 19 that an arrest warrant had been issued against the politician for racketeering and corruption charges, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Miguel Ángel Yunes — Veracruz’s governor elect who is set to take office on December 1 — claimed that Duarte fled the state on October 15 aboard a helicopter provided by the current interim governor, Flavino Ríos.
Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong has since denied the possibility that Duarte escaped with help from the national government, adding that there are no legal records of the former governor leaving the country.
According to investigations by Mexican authorities, Duarte and the Veracruz government embezzled over $26 million in state funds by handing out false public contracts to “ghost companies,” Animal Político reported.
In September, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional – PRI) suspended Duarte’s party membership in the first such move in the party’s history, according to PRI President Enrique Ochoa Reza.
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