January 26, 2017 / 11:27 PM / 3 years ago

Ex-Mexican state governor arrested pending trial on graft charges

FILE PHOTO - Rodrigo Medina, former governor of Nuevo Leon state, talks to the media upon his arrival to a court to declare on tax incentives his administration gave to South Korean carmaker KIA to build a plant, in Monterrey, Mexico, August 8, 2016. Picture taken August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The former governor of the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, charged last August with improper use of his power, was arrested on Thursday to prevent him from fleeing, a state official said.

New charges of embezzlement and crimes against state property were also leveled against Rodrigo Medina of Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party - allegations linked to tax incentives given to carmaker Kia Motors during his 2009-2015 tenure, Nuevo Leon’s security spokesman Aldo Fasci said in a radio interview.

He said the arrest order would remain in place for one month, at which time it could be extended. Medina is being held at a prison in Monterrey, officials said.

A lawyer for Medina could not be immediately reached for comment.

President Enrique Pena Nieto has struggled to crack down on corruption that has embroiled several governors in his own party, helping drive down his approval ratings.

Claudia Garcia, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office, said a second line of enquiry also focuses on the wealth acquired by Medina during his time in office.

Medina’s wife and father have both received a court summons in that investigation, Garcia said.

Since October, former Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte has been on the run from allegations he was involved in organized crime and money laundering, while former governor Guillermo Padres of the state of Sonora slipped away for weeks following accusations of corruption.

Reporting by Natalie Schachar; editing by Grant McCool

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