Guillermo Padres Mexican ex-governor turns himself in on fraud charges

Padres, of the opposition National Action Party (PAN), is accused of giving tax exemptions to companies owned by his relatives.

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Former Governor of the Mexican state Sonora, Guillermo Padres (R), seen in April 2010, is accused of giving tax exemptions to companies owned by his relatives play

Former Governor of the Mexican state Sonora, Guillermo Padres (R), seen in April 2010, is accused of giving tax exemptions to companies owned by his relatives

(AFP/File)
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A former Mexican governor wanted on allegations of tax fraud and money laundering turned himself in on Thursday to appear before a judge in the capital.

Guillermo Padres, who governed the northern state of Sonora from 2009 to 2015, declared his innocence as he appeared at a radio station for an interview after being in hiding for weeks.

"It's a difficult decision, but I have to do it. It's the right thing to do," Padres, 47, told Radio Formula before heading to a prison where a judge was to hear his case.

Padres, of the opposition National Action Party (PAN), is accused of giving tax exemptions to companies owned by his relatives.

He claims the charges are a political witch hunt by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which won the governor's seat last year.

Padres said he never left the country and was in hiding to prepare his defense. The PAN has suspended his party rights.

"We trust that the federal judge will put political issues aside and we will focus on legal issues," he said. "I have all the proof that I'm innocent."

Soldiers stood guard outside the radio station and followed his car as he headed to the prison in the east of the city, where a scrum of journalists recorded his arrival.

Authorities are searching for another former governor, Javier Duarte of Veracruz state, who stepped down last month and is facing charges of organized crime and money laundering. The PRI has expelled him from the party.

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