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Ex-governor of Mexican State Agrees to Extradition from Guatemala

Police search Mexico's former Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte before returning him to his jail cell, after he attended a court hearing in Guatemala City, June 27, 2017.

A former state governor from Mexico's ruling party, wanted on charges of embezzlement and organized crime, agreed on Tuesday to be extradited to his homeland from Guatemala, where he was arrested in April.

Javier Duarte, who was governor of the Gulf state of Veracruz until last year, said in a court in Guatemala City that he was willing to face accusations against him in Mexico, although he denied any wrongdoing.

“I accept the extradition,” said Duarte, who has become emblematic of corruption in Mexico.

Duarte, bespectacled and sporting a beard, appeared relaxed in court. He was arrested at a hotel in Panajachel, a village on the shores of Lake Atitlan, and is being held in a military prison in the capital.

Duarte, who governed Veracruz as a member of President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has been accused of using state institutions to funnel public funds into private companies.

Under Duarte's rule, Veracruz descended into a chaotic cycle of violence, with mass graves having been discovered last year after he left office.