Former Mexico politician held in Spain on suspicion of fraud

AP News
Posted: Jan 16, 2016 10:29 AM
Former Mexico politician held in Spain on suspicion of fraud

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court has ruled that a prominent former Mexican politician who was arrested on a Spanish warrant should be held in custody while officers investigate alleged corruption.

Former Institutional Revolutionary Party chief Humberto Moreira is under suspicion of "embezzling public funds, money laundering, bribery and belonging to a criminal organization," the National Court said in a statement.

Moreira, who was nabbed at Barajas international airport at midday Friday, was governor of the state of Coahuila from 2005-2011 before leaving to head the PRI as it prepared for a return to national power under Enrique Pena Nieto, now Mexico's president.

Coahuila's debt rose from $27 million to $3 billion during Moreira's tenure.

Moreira resigned in 2012 as party leader when the size of the debt was revealed.

The statement said Moreira "had at least three bank accounts under his name in Spain" that had "received money transfers and cash payments" amounting to $217,290 while he had been allegedly studying a postgraduate course.

The court said it had decided to detain Moreira because there was a risk that evidence could be destroyed and the suspect could flee the country.

The statement, signed by investigating judge Jose de la Mata, said Moreira had three days to appeal the court's ruling and that the case will be heard under secrecy to avoid jeopardizing the investigation.

The PRI issued a statement Friday saying it "awaited the outcome of investigations in Spain," adding that institutions were not responsible for the actions of individual members.