MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The wife of a detained former Mexican governor is living in Britain and has demanded back artwork, golf clubs and crystal that were seized by the government, according to a letter obtained by news site Animal Politico.
Karime Macias is the wife of former ruling party Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte, who is awaiting trial on charges of embezzlement and organized crime, in a case that public auditors said was the worst they had ever seen in Mexico.
In the letter, which the news site posted online, Macias said she was forced to leave the country and shelter in the UK because of “persecution” at home.
Reuters did not obtain the letter and could not verify its authenticity. Macias’ lawyers did not respond to a request for comment. Macias has not been charged with any crime.
Neither the attorney general’s office nor the Veracruz government responded to requests for comment.
Macias confirmed in the letter that diaries in which she had reportedly written “I deserve abundance” repeatedly were hers, and said that her phrases were of a spiritual nature.
Macias said she wanted back personal items including paintings, luxury pens, golf clubs and books that she said were seized by prosecutors without a warrant, adding that she feared other items found were planted there.
In April, Duarte was arrested in a Guatemala hotel where he had been with his wife after fleeing the country. He has denied any wrongdoing, and Macias was not detained.
Top Mexican auditor ASF said in 2016 that the irregularities in public funds under Duarte were the highest amount it had ever seen.
Prosecutors say Duarte headed an organization consisting of at least nine other people, whose criminal operations were carried out in Veracruz, the eastern Gulf state of Campeche and Mexico City between 2011 and 2016.
At a hearing in July, a judge gave prosecutors six months to proceed with the investigation against Duarte.
He is one of four ex-governors detained this year from President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
Corruption is one of the central issues in Mexico’s July 2018 election, with public discontent widespread over a spate of conflict-of-interest rows that have dogged the Cabinet and Pena Nieto himself.
Reporting by Christine Murray; Editing by Leslie Adler