Mexican ex-governor arrested in Panama; extradition sought

AP News
Posted: Jun 05, 2017 11:00 PM
Mexican ex-governor arrested in Panama; extradition sought

PANAMA CITY (AP) — A fugitive Mexican ex-governor wanted for alleged corruption in connection with the sale of state properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars was arrested in Panama and faces possible extradition, authorities said Monday.

Mexican federal prosecutors said Roberto Borge, who was governor of Quintana Roo from 2011 to 2016, was detained at the Panama City airport just as he was to board a flight to Paris.

Deputy prosecutor Alonso Israel Lira said Borge had traveled through Miami, the Bahamas, Cuba and Barcelona before arriving in Panama. He said Mexico would begin the process of seeking his extradition.

Handcuffed and wearing a police vest, Borge was taken from the airport Monday to the headquarters of Panama's Judicial Investigation Directorate to be held while awaiting a decision.

Panamanian officials did not say how long that might take. Directorate deputy director Manuel Bonome said the matter was in the hands of Panamanian prosecutors.

The Caribbean coastal state of Quintana Roo is home to Cancun and other resort cities.

In February, Mexican prosecutors seized 25 parcels of state-owned land worth more than $250 million that were allegedly sold to private parties at a fraction of their market value. The sales took place during Borge's time in office, and Mexican media reports have linked the buyers to him.

Borge is the third ex-governor from President Enrique Pena Nieto's governing Institutional Revolutionary Party to be detained this year on corruption allegations.

In April, former Tamaulipas Gov. Tomas Yarrington was detained in Italy and former Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte was arrested in Guatemala.

In December 2016, the PRI suspended Borge's party rights due to the investigation. A warrant for his capture was issued May 31, Lira said.