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Mexico: unionist charged with embezzlement

Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:36 AM

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The head of Mexico's powerful teachers union has been arrested for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars in union funds, the country's attorney general says.

Prosecutor Jesus Murillo Karam said Elba Esther Gordillo's arrest involved the suspicious transfer of $200 million from the accounts of the 1.5-million member National Union of Education Workers into the personal accounts of three individuals, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Gordillo is alleged to have used the money to pay for personal expenses, including credit cards, two houses in California, art and plastic surgery.

Karam said the offenses occurred between 2008 and 2012 and that as many as 80 union accounts were being investigated for irregularities.

Gordillo's arrest came a day after President Enrique Pena Nieto signed a law that makes major reforms in education law that are designed to disrupt the union's control of hiring and school administration.

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