May 24, 2012

Mexico political party suspends former official in drug-money scandal MEXICO CITY -- The political party expected to win Mexico's upcoming presidential election sought Wednesday to distance itself from a former high-ranking official embroiled in a drug-trafficking and money-laundering scandal.

Tomas Yarrington, a former governor of the border state of Tamaulipas from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has been accused in U.S. federal court papers of receiving millions of dollars from drug gangs. He allegedly used the money to buy property in Mexico and Texas.

U.S. prosecutors Tuesday filed two civil forfeiture cases that are aimed at confiscation of some of the properties.

Yarrington has not been charged with a crime and has denied wrongdoing. His attorney, Joel Androphy, told Mexico's Milenio TV on Wednesday that he suspected other defendants, attempting to save themselves, had pointed fingers at Yarrington.

But the PRI, in the middle of an election campaign that probably will return it to presidential power after more than a decade, apparently decided enough was enough. Though the accusations have circulated for months, the party Wednesday issued a statement (link in Spanish) saying Yarrington would have to face authorities and clear up the charges. Until then, his party membership was suspended. Read more

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