A court in Guatemala yesterday ordered the extradition of Javier Duarte to face charges of embezzlement and ties to organized crime.
The former Veracruz governor attended his third hearing yesterday in Guatemala City, this one for federal charges, where he denied them all and agreed to be extradited to Mexico.
Mexican authorities expect he will be sent back in two weeks.
Duarte’s attorney, Carlos Velázquez, said his client agreed to face the charges in order to get to the truth. He said Duarte was the victim of political persecution.
Yesterday’s was the second of two hearings to review the evidence against the former governor, suspected of embezzling billions of pesos. Duarte also agreed to extradition at the first hearing, which heard evidence from state of Veracruz prosecutors.
Evidence was given at the hearings showing he had set up shell companies, made dodgy real estate deals and bought a yacht in the United States.
“I did not commit these crimes and I wish to prove so before the judicial authorities in my country,” Duarte said.
AFP reported that the accused, bearded and looking well fed, showed more restraint than last week when he flashed smiles and joked with reporters. Instead, he recited a poem that extolled the virtues of “verbal continence.”
Reporters asked several questions yesterday, to which he only replied, “No comment.”
An assistant Attorney General said yesterday the case against Duarte is “solid,” and that he would go directly to prison to await trial.
Alberto Elías Beltrán was confident that an indictment would be obtained for the federal charges and that Duarte would be held in preventative custody to await trial.