Mexico suspends 3 federal judges in casino probe

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Three Mexican federal judges have been suspended pending an investigation into court judgments that benefited casino owners, the judiciary announced Thursday.

The Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement that a disciplinary process had been opened against federal judges Eduardo Ochoa Torres and Javier Ruben Lozano Martinez in the northern state of Nuevo Leon and Jose Manuel Rodriguez Puerto in neighboring Tamaulipas state.

The council didn't identify the casino owners who allegedly benefited from the judges' rulings.

It was the largest purge of federal judges suspected of corruption in recent years.

In 2011, the council suspended federal judge Luis Armando Jerezano Trevino, who was based in the northern state of Coahuila. Jerezano Trevino is still being investigated for illegal enrichment.

The states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Coahuila, all three of which border Texas, have seen the opening of numerous casinos in the recent years.

In February, local prosecutors in South Texas sought the forfeiture of more than $3.2 million seized from U.S.-based accounts belonging to Jerezano Trevino and his wife. Prosecutors said the funds were the result of money laundering and bribery. Jerezano Trevino is contesting the seizure in McAllen.

According to court documents, Jerezano Trevino and his wife, Claudia Zulema Alanis Trevino, didn't inform bank officials that Jerezano Trevino was a Mexican judge. Texas prosecutors allege the couple deposited bribes that Jerezano Trevino took as a judge in return for favorable rulings.

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