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Colombian mayor charged with fraud

Sept. 19, 2011 at 9:33 PM

BOGOTA, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Suspended Bogota, Colombia, Mayor Samuel Moreno has been formally charged for his alleged role in the city's public works corruption scandal, officials said.

Colombian prosecutor Ricardo Gonzalez accused Moreno of fraudulent contracting, embezzlement and extortion at a court hearing Monday, Radio Nacional de Colombia reported.

Gonzales told the court Moreno promised financial backers he would deliver benefits to them if elected.

Moreno was suspended in early May after alleged irregularities in the awarding of public works contracts to the Nule Group construction firm.

The accused official said he had no participation in any criminal behavior and denied the charges.

Gonzales petitioned to keep Moreno in jail until trial. Moreno could face a 10- to 15-year prison sentence if found guilty.

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