Mexican governor offers to resign to face corruption charges

Javier Duarte, Governor of the state of Veracruz, attends a news conference in Xalapa, Mexico, August 10, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican governor of the Gulf state of Veracruz said on Wednesday he would resign just weeks before his term ends in order to face corruption charges that have become an embarrassment for the country’s ruling party.

Javier Duarte, from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), denied taking “one cent” of public funds during his term that ends in November. His party lost a local election in June, ending over 80 years of rule by the PRI in oil-rich Veracruz.

Duarte told local television he would ask the state legislature later on Wednesday to accept his resignation.

“I have nothing to be ashamed of,” he said.

President Enrique Pena Nieto’s PRI fared poorly in state elections earlier this year amid widespread frustration with endemic corruption and rising crime linked to drug gangs.

Late last month, the PRI suspended Duarte’s membership after federal investigators opened an investigation into charges that include the diversion of public funds and embezzlement.

Duarte has been blamed for driving up the state’s debt and failing to contain a spike in drug gang crime, including the murder of at least 17 journalists, since taking power in 2010.

Local media have reported dozens of front companies linked to Duarte won public contracts during his term.

Reporting by Michael O’Boyle; Editing by Bernadette Baum