Top Mexico vote official apologizes over leaked secret phone call

Top Mexico vote official apologizes over leaked secret phone call
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto

MEXICO CITY - The head of Mexico's electoral institute apologised on Tuesday after a covert recording appeared on YouTube in which he made fun of the way an indigenous leader he had just met with spoke.

The recording of the phone call between Lorenzo Cordova, the president of Mexico's national electoral institute (INE), and the organisation's executive secretary, Edmundo Jacobo, took place in late April after a private meeting with indigenous leaders, according to an INE source.

"During the phone call I spoke in an unfortunate and disrespectful manner," Cordova said at a media conference, where he took no questions.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to offer a frank and sincere apology to anybody who could have been offended."

Cordova said the call was recorded illegally in an effort to smear the INE shortly before Mexico's mid-term elections on June 7. Earlier on Tuesday, the INE said it had brought the case to the attention of the attorney general's office.

The incident is the latest example of a public official being caught in a compromising situation.

Last year, it was revealed that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife were in the process of buying a house from a government contractor. Finance Minister Luis Videgaray was subsequently involved after it emerged he had bought a house from the same contractor.

In April, the head of Mexico's federal water authority resigned after he and his family used one of the agency's helicopters for personal travel in an incident that fueled growing discontent over graft in Latin America's No. 2 economy.

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