GUATEMALA CITY – The former governor of the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz appeared on Tuesday before a Guatemala City court and accepted the second extradition request filed against him by Mexico on federal charges.
“I didn’t commit these crimes and my desire is to prove that,” Javier Duarte told the 5th Criminal Court.
Duarte, who is being held at a prison inside the Matamoros army base, was taken to court amid tight security and did not respond to questions shouted at him by reporters.
The 43-year-old Duarte agreed at a June 27 hearing to not fight one of the extradition requests filed by the Mexican government on abuse of authority, influence peddling and other corruption charges.
The request was filed with Guatemalan authorities on June 7, the same day that Mexico finished documenting the first extradition request, which led to Duarte’s arrest on April 15.
Duarte told the court he was innocent but would not fight the extradition request.
The former governor, however, did not say whether he would waive his right to fight the other extradition order, which was filed on more serious charges, including organized crime and money laundering.
Duarte was arrested at a hotel in Panajachel, a city in the Guatemalan province of Solola.
The former governor was detained at the La Riviera Hotel, one of the most luxurious in the area, by Interpol agents from Guatemala.
The politician, a member of Mexico’s governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was the subject of an Interpol red notice, an alert from the international police organization that can serve as a basis for arrest in some countries.
Duarte reserved the right to agree to be extradited at a hearing on April 19 and Guatemala’s 5th Criminal Court will decide whether to hold a hearing if he rejects having one next week.
The former governor entered Guatemala illegally by land last November, officials said.
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office alleges that Duarte misappropriated large sums of public funds between 2012 and 2015, using the money to buy real estate in Mexico and abroad.
Interpol sent the red notice for Duarte, one of the most-wanted men in Mexico, to 192 countries.