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3 Mexican Officials Resign, 3 Suspended Over ‘Towelgate’

From Associated Press

A member of Mexican President Vicente Fox’s administration resigned Tuesday in a scandal over the purchase of $440,000 in luxury goods, including $443 towels and $1,060 sheets--items that never showed up at the president’s residence.

Carlos Rojas, president of the acquisitions committee for the presidency, resigned along with two other members of the committee, and three others were suspended until a government investigation is complete, Comptroller Francisco Barrio said at a news conference. Two other people implicated in the scandal, dubbed “Towelgate,” no longer work for the government.

Rojas led fund-raising efforts during Fox’s campaign and was one of the top aides who helped Fox select his Cabinet.

Barrio, who broke the story on his office’s Web site, said a preliminary investigation had found several “irregularities” in the purchase of the items for the redecoration of the president’s residence, but he didn’t say whether the purchasing officials were duped by a company trying to overcharge or were part of a kickback scheme. He said the investigation will continue.

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