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Hearing Set for Ex-Oil Official

July 03, 2002|From Reuters

HOUSTON — A bewildered U.S. judge set a July 17 hearing for the former head of Mexico's state-owned oil company after U.S. federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they were not ready to accept his surrender on corruption charges filed in his home country.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas agreed to give confused U.S. officials more time to sort out the case and made Rogelio Montemayor promise that he would not leave Houston, where he has been trying to turn himself in since Monday.

"This is a new one on me," said Atlas, shaking her head at the end of a brief hearing.

U.S. officials initially insisted that they had not received a request from Mexico for an arrest warrant, but State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday that Mexico asked for a warrant in a diplomatic note sent May 21.

Montemayor, who headed Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, and was once governor of the northern state of Coahuila, agreed to stay put because he believes that he can get a fairer hearing in a U.S. court.

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