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Mexico City corruption widespread

Mexico City's mayor Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, just three months in office, said Wednesday he inherited an urban bureaucracy wracked with an ingrained system of favors and fraud.

"The phenomenon of fraud against the Mexico City government show the characteristics of organized crime," Cardenas said.He told of illegal vehicle emissions verification stations and suspicious building loans from different organizations to the political party that formerly ruled the city, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

"A system of patronage (made) corruption like a normal way of life and work," he added, referring to the former administration of the city. Cardenas' report comes from a study of the condition in which he received the city's reigns.

Cardenas added that files appeared to have been hastily erased before his Institutional Revolutinary Party predecessor handed over the office.

He said the former administration "systematically manipulated and hid information, not just political but economic and administrative."

The mayor declined to point fingers at those responsible for the fraud he cited, but said the capital's comptroller's office and possibly the attorney general's office would investigate any wrongdoing.

Cardenas became the first popularly elected mayor of Mexico City since the 1920s and the first from an opposition party since then. Previous mayors were appointed by the president.

Mexico City and its outlying suburbs house some 18 million people, about half of whom live within the city limits.