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Union leader in Mexico charged with embezzling dues for plastic surgery

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A top teachers' union leader in Mexico has been arrested and charged with embezzling funds from the organization and blowing it on everything from shopping sprees at luxury U.S. retailers to plastic surgery.

Elba Esther Gordillo was arrested Tuesday at Toluca airport on charges of embezzling from National Union of Education Workers' accounts worth $153.8 billion, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

Investigators say the alleged embezzling scheme was complex and involved a series of account transfers. She is accused of spending $3 million at one department store alone, investigators said, in the AFP report. She also allegedly put $2 million of union funds into separate personal accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and paid an unspecified amount to buy property, artwork and plastic surgery procedures, AFP said.

Ms. Gordillo, 68, is the head of one of the largest unions in Latin America, with 1.4 members, AFP reported.

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