MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's tourism secretary, Oscar Espinosa, resigned
Aug. 8 in order to deal with charges that he embezzled $45 million
during his tenure as Mexico City mayor from 1995 to 1997.
Under Mexican law, Espinosa had limited immunity from
prosecution as a member of the country's cabinet.
In March, Espinosa was accused of embezzlement by Mexico City's
chief prosecutor, Samuel del Villar, a member of the capital's
Espinosa has called the accusations politically motivated.
"I am asking for the right to strip myself of my immunity and
clear the way for the justice system, through which my innocence
will be established," Espinosa said in a written statement.
Espinosa's resignation came one day after he asked for an
indefinite leave of absence from his tourism post in order to
defend himself against the accusations.
Prosecutors responded by saying a leave of absence was not
enough to strip Espinosa of his immunity, and demanded that the
tourism chief resign or be fired.
It was unclear what legal action would be brought against
Espinosa, whose case has been transferred to the attorney general's
Espinosa was replaced by Hector Flores Santana, the
undersecretary for tourism development.