A U.S. prosecutor asked a federal judge in Miami, which is handling César Duarte’s extradition case, not to release him on bond because he poses a “flight risk.”
In Mexico, former Chihuahua Governor César Duarte is accused of embezzlement and electoral crimes. U.S. authorities arrested Duarte Jáquez in Miami on July 8.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Wu said the former Chihuahua Governor can’t prove he won’t flee the country if released on bond.
César Duarte’s hearing to determine whether or not he will be released on bond was set for July 30. It will be a virtual hearing with judge Lauren F. Louis.
Since his arrest three weeks ago, Duarte has remained at a federal prison in Miami, Florida.
In his letter, Attorney Jason Wu added that there is an existing extradition treaty between Mexico and the United States, and the charges the former Mexican Governor faces, embezzlement and conspiracy, are included in the agreement.
Duarte Jáquez’s lawyers, Armando Rosquete Bell and Henry Philip Bell, haven’t filed a motion to request a bail.
According to documents, U.S. authorities claim “Duarte, with help from other officials working for his administration and others, embezzled state funds for his benefit.” It also explains that a judge in Chihuahua had issued an arrest warrant against the former governor on October 8, 2019.
Years ago, Mexican authorities found a series of irregularities in subsidies and loan programs aimed at livestock producers. Also, the purchase of state properties was tainted by irregularities.
According to legal documents, between 2011 and 2014, Chihuahua transferred over USD 6.4 million to two companies where César Duarte was a shareholder.
César Duarte’s wife tries to avoid arrest
On June 20, a Mexican judge halted any arrest warrants for the extradition of Bertha Olga Gómez Fong, César Duarte’s wife.
The Mexico City judge decided to halt any arrest or extradition warrant issued against Gómez Fong.
The judge urged Chihuahua’s Attorney General’s Office and the state police to inform if they have any arrest warrants against Duarte’s wife.
Although authorities mentioned Bertha Olga Gómez Fong in some investigations against her husband, these investigations ended, and authorities haven’t informed about any arrest warrant against Gómez Fong.
In 2014, the Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation against Bertha Olga Gómez Fong and César Duarte Jáquez for money laundering; however, it was later shelved.
Who is César Duarte?
Former Chihuahua Governor César Duarte was arrested in Florida three weeks ago, after years on the run.
In 2017, Chihuahua authorities issued an arrest warrant against him after discovering public debt has reached MXN 48,000 million, embezzlement for MXN 6,000 million, and the diversion of MXN 250 million for the PRI’s electoral campaign in 2015.
It was later confirmed that the US Marshals Service arrested the former governor.
Back in 2017, the Federal Prosecutors’ Office asked the Interpol to search for Duarte in 190 countries after Chihuahuaauthorities asked federal authorities for help to find the former Governor.
In January 2020, President López Obrador said the United States had agreed to extradite Duarte, who is wanted on corruption, money laundering, and illicit enrichment charges.
The Attorney General’s Office renewed its request to arrest and extradite Duarte to Mexico in January 2020.
Duarte, who governed Chihuahua for the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has previously denied wrongdoing. His successor as governor, Javier Corral, has said that he believed Duarte fled to neighboring Texas.
In September 2019, César Duarte was spotted in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In May 2019, the PRI official kicked him out of the political party.
In September 2019, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said that Mexican intelligence agencies were working with their U.S. counterparts to confirm if the former governor of Chihuahua, César Duarte, lived in New Mexico.
Source: El Universal