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News > Latin America

US Extradites Mexican Former Governor Accused of Embezzlement

  • Chihuahua State Former Governor Cesar Duarte, Mexico.

    Chihuahua State Former Governor Cesar Duarte, Mexico. | Photo: Twitter/ @Almomento4T

Published 9 November 2021
Opinion

The embezzlement of millions of dollars in public funds that Duarte carried out would have been impossible without President Peña Nieto's knowledge and consent.

On Monday, South Florida Federal Judge Lauren F. Louis ruled that Cesar Duarte, the former governor of the state of Chihuahua, be extradited to Mexico to face prosecution on corruption charges.

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Duarte was apprehended by the U.S. police in Miami in July 2020. Since then, his defense has prevented his deportation with multiple legal recourses. However, the latest proceeding stated there is probable cause that Duarte is guilty; therefore there are sufficient grounds for his deportation.

The extradition treaty between Mexico and the U.S. permits the deportation of Duarte for the charges against him. The Court also ruled against the defense’s motion that the case had already expired. 

The extradition process, however, will not be immediate. Duarte’s defense now has 30 days to present an appeal in court, after which another U.S. court will reach the final decision. The case could last over 60 business days to reach its conclusion.

The defendant is wanted by the Mexican justice for embezzlement and criminal association. Duarte left a public debt of over US$2 billion and has an open case for misappropriation of electoral funds for over US$12 million, an amount which was used to benefit the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

His case is likely related to the Operation Saphire, a large-scale conspiracy in which seven Mexican states siphoned almost US$32 million through 12 shell companies in order to finance PRI candidates. The Mexican Tax Administration Service (SAT) protected those shell companies from investigations.

“The multimillion-dollar embezzlement of public funds that Duarte carried for years would have been impossible without the knowledge and consent of Peña Nieto”, said Javier Corral, former Governor of Chihuahua (2016-2021).

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