Mexico has recalled its ambassador to Argentina after a video surfaced suggesting he may have tried to steal a book from a Buenos Aires bookstore.
Ambassador Óscar Valero Recio Becerra "has been ordered to return home," said Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Newspaper reports said the 76-year-old diplomat had tried to steal a US$10 590-peso book on the famous 18th century playboy Casanova from the El Ateneo bookshop in Buenos Aires at the end of October.
Recio Becerra will be investigated by a government ethics committee. If he is found to have stolen the book, Ebrard said he will be fired, noting there will "zero tolerance for dishonesty."
The video appears to show the diplomat tucking the book into a stack of papers he is holding and being stopped by security after passing a detector gate on the way out.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday the incident was "regrettable," but warned against a rush to judgement.
López Obrador noted that Recio Becerra was both a career diplomat and had a long pedigree in Mexico's left.
The incident is especially embarrassing given López Obrador's main policy aim of promoting honesty among public servants. His administration has also imposed cuts on pay and expenses for some diplomats.
The book allegedly stolen by the diplomat is Giacomo Casanova, by Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret. The alleged robbery took place on October 26, but it is not clear why the event was not disclosed until Sunday.