April 9, 2015 / 6:21 PM / 5 years ago

In latest scandal, Mexico water chief resigns over chopper use

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The head of Mexico’s federal water authority resigned on Thursday after he and his family used one of the agency’s helicopters for personal travel in an incident that fueled growing discontent over graft in Latin America’s No. 2 economy.

David Korenfeld, head of the body known as Conagua and an ally of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, was photographed last week in a wealthy suburb of the capital boarding the chopper with his family and several suitcases.

Local media later reported the family were using the helicopter to travel to Mexico City’s airport, and had booked a stay in the U.S. ski resort of Vail, Colorado.

It is the latest scandal to damage Peña Nieto’s administration. Last year, it was revealed that Peña Nieto, his wife and his finance minister had all bought or were using houses belonging to a government contractor involved in a consortium that won a high-speed train contract.

Korenfeld tweeted last week he had used the helicopter because of an injury, posting an image of his knee in a brace.

He also tweeted that using the helicopter for the airport trip was “inexcusable” and he had covered the cost with a payment to the federal government, but did not disclose the amount.

Mexico’s newly empowered anti-graft ministry has already said it will examine the incident and speak with Korenfeld to hear his side of the story before passing judgment.

(This story has been refiled to fix punctuation in first paragraph)

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter and Lizbeth Diaz; editing by Gunna Dickson

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