November 26, 2015 / 4:43 PM / 2 years ago

Mexico official and Pena Nieto ally resigns amid criminal probe

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A senior Mexican government crime prevention figure and close ally of President Enrique Pena Nieto has resigned from his Interior Ministry post, after it emerged he is being investigated for electoral crimes.

Arturo Escobar, one of the leaders of the Green Party and deputy interior minister for crime prevention and civil integration, posted a letter on his Twitter account late on Wednesday saying he was innocent but that he would resign from his post to allow an investigation to proceed.

The attorney general's office said it had opened an investigation into an unnamed leader of a political party and businessmen for illegally distributing money, and had asked a judge for an arrest warrant.

The judge has 10 days to decide whether to grant the arrest warrant.

Speaking on local television, Santiago Nieto, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, confirmed Escobar was the focus of the probe.

The Green Party is a close ally of Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and the PRI has relied on the Greens to pass legislation in Congress.

However, the party has been found guilty and fined for various cases of electoral fraud.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Sandra Maler

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