Warrant Issued for Former Head of Pemex

A warrant revealed late Wednesday accuses Rogelio Montemayor and three former Pemex staff members of embezzlement and misusing public funds that were allegedly diverted through the oil workers union to the campaign of the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. The staff members also named are Juan Jose Domene, former Pemex finance director; Carlos Juaristi, former administration director for Pemex, and Julio Pindter, former deputy director of labor relations for Pemex.

Montemayor is charged with having funneled 170 million dollars from Pemex to the oil workers union in order to assure the vote of workers for the candidate of the then governing Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), Francisco Labastida, in presidential elections in 2000. The election, won by Mexico's President Vicente Fox, of the National Action Party (PAN), marked the end of the PRI's decades-long rule in Mexico.

President Fox's party is also under scrutiny for alleged illegal campaign funding. On Tuesday, an electoral tribunal ordered an investigation into alleged contributions from abroad for Fox's campaign. Foreign contributions are forbidden under Mexican law. PAN party chief Luis Felipe Bravo said Wednesday that "there has been nothing on our part" that could be punished. However, Fox's campaign was boosted by a wide-reaching group of donors called "Friends of Fox" who are not associated with political parties. Fox said he would accept any decision reached by the electoral tribunal.