Fugitive Mexican businessman wants asylum in U.S.

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MEXICO CITY -- A federal official in Mexico says the fugitive businessman who controlled Mexicana airlines before it went bankrupt and was recently charged with illegal use of the airline's funds has asked for asylum in the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Mariana Benitez said Wednesday that Gaston Azcarraga is in the United States and has applied for asylum following the expiration of his visa.

Benitez says U.S. officials notified Mexico that Azcarraga is in their country a few days ago. She says Mexico requested that he be extradited but U.S. authorities must first rule on his asylum request.

Before it stopped flying in 2010 because of financial problems, the privately operated Mexicana was among the world's oldest continually operating airlines. It began flying in 1921, after Australia's Qantas and Colombia's Avianca.

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