Mexican governor: Feds withhold funds on corruption probe

AP News
Posted: Jan 08, 2018 5:56 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The governor of the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua claimed Monday that federal authorities have refused to disperse millions of dollars in funding because of a state investigation into possible embezzlement involving the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which is led by President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Mexican states rely heavily on federal revenue sharing. Gov. Javier Corral, of the opposition National Action Party, said the federal government agreed to bridge funding of about 700 million pesos in December, but then refused to pay after Chihuahua state prosecutors arrested a former official of Pena Nieto's party.

The former official, Alejandro Gutierrez, is accused of diverting about 240 million pesos ($12 million) in public funds for political campaigning under former Chihuahua Gov. Cesar Duarte, also a member of the PRI.

Corral said the federal government has refused to ask the U.S. to extradite Duarte.

"They don't want to detain Cesar Duarte, but they have detained our money," Corral said.

The federal Treasury Department denied any political motive, saying it has paid out more money than originally budgeted for Chihuahua.