Mexican prosecutor denies political charges against governor

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero denied Wednesday that corruption accusations against the opposition governor of the border state of Tamaulipas are politically motivated, but did not specify what is behind the case.

The attorney general’s office filed a request Tuesday to Congress to remove the governor’s immunity from prosecution, equivalent to a kind of impeachment proceeding.

Gov. Francisco Garcia Cabeza De Vaca is accused of organized crime, money laundering and tax evasion. He has denied any wrongdoing and claimed the accusations are politically motivated.

Local media have reported that some of the accusations are related to movements of millions of dollars between front companies. Other accusations may be related to bribes that were allegedly paid to lawmakers in 2013 to approve an energy sector reform that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador opposes. Garcia Cabeza De Vaca was a senator at the time.

But Gertz Manero did not confirm any of those accounts Wednesday.

“There cannot be anything like this being revenge, nor any type of a political thing,” Gertz Manero said, noting that lawmakers will be presented with the evidence against the governor, and will be able to judge for themselves whether the accusations justify putting him on trial.

López Obrador said “we do not persecute anyone.”

Cabeza De Vaca, from the opposition National Action Party, sent a tweet insisting he was innocent and complaining of a political attack.

In his official Twitter account, Cabeza de De Vaca called the accusations “once again a partisan use of justice where there is no crime. A political attack is being organized.” He added, “I have never violated the law.”

He has governed the Gulf state south of Texas since 2016. Organized crime groups have long had deep roots in the state and numerous politicians have been implicated in dealings with them.

Former Gov. Tomás Yarrington of the Institutional Revolutionary Party was extradited to the U.S. from Italy in 2018 to face drug trafficking charges. U.S. officials also have tried to extradite the governor who succeeded Yarrington in 2005, Eugenio Hernández, to face money laundering charges.

The leading candidate to follow Hernández in 2011, Rodolfo Torre Cantú, was assassinated while campaigning for office.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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