Ex-Mexican governor accused of stealing cows

MEXICO CITY – A former Mexican governor is suspected of stealing hundreds of cows bought with public money.

César Duarte, who served as governor of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua from October 2010 to October 2016, was declared a fugitive after leaving Mexico in March when he was accused of embezzling 79m pesos ($4.2m; £3.2m) during his six-year term and channelling the money into his party’s coffers.

His successor in office, Javier Corral from the rival PAN party, ran on a promise to bring Mr. Duarte to justice.

The ex-governor has been spotted in Texas, New Mexico and Florida.

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The latest allegations against him surfaced in official documents published by a non-governmental organization fighting corruption.

The cattle, bought with public funds and imported from New Zealand in 2015, were meant to be handed over to small-scale ranchers in Chihuahua to repopulate their herds, which had been decimated by a drought.

But the documents suggest that 903 out of the 1,408 animals imported into Chihuahua were taken to a ranch owned by Mr. Duarte, with hundreds more being given to close political associates of his.

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According to the investigation by Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, only 150 animals were given to needy ranchers.

In October 2016, Mexican newspaper Proceso and La Jornada reported that 345 of the cows from New Zealand had been taken to Mr. Duarte’s ranch.

But the official documents released by Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity suggest the total number was more than double that.