May 24, 2002

Police make arrest in Mexican gas, oil corruption case

                 MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- Police arrested the first Pemex official tied to
                 allegations of corruption within Mexico's state-run oil and gas company, the
                 federal attorney general's office said Friday.

                 Manuel Gomezperalta, Pemex's former administrative director, was detained in
                 Mexico City after prosecutors overturned an injunction against his arrest, the
                 attorney general's office said in a statement.

                 Local media reported that Gomezperalta was arrested Thursday for authorizing
                 illegal payments to the oil workers' union, but a spokeswoman for the attorney
                 general's office refused to comment on the charges.

                 Officials have issued arrest warrants for several Pemex officials in connection with
                 the scandal.

                 Federal prosecutors allege the oil workers' union laundered $170 million for the
                 presidential campaign of Francisco Labastida, the Institutional Revolutionary Party
                 candidate who lost the 2000 election to President Vicente Fox.

                 Labastida was the first PRI candidate to lose an election, breaking the party's
                 71-year hold on power.

                 Former Pemex director Rogelio Montemayor, a former Coahuila state governor,
                 also is accused of helping transfer funds into the union's bank account. The money
                 was then allegedly passed to the PRI in a complicated series of transfers.

                 Montemayor has said that all of the past money transfers to the union were legal.

                  Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.