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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) _ Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant Monday for former Finance Minister Carlos Julio Emanuel, shortly after he resigned in a growing corruption scandal, news reports said.

President Gustavo Noboa had directed Emanuel to step down, presidential spokesman Oscar Zuloaga said late Sunday. Noboa on Monday replaced Emanuel with Francisco Arosemana, who had been working on Ecuador's negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

Channel 8 television news and CRE radio said the warrant was issued to prevent Emanuel from leaving the country while prosecutors investigate allegations that Finance Ministry officials demanded bribes from mayors before releasing funds to their municipalities.

The whereabouts of Emanuel late Monday were unknown.

The attorney general's office did not immediately confirm the warrant.

Officials said earlier Monday that similar arrest orders had been issued for eight high-ranking Finance Ministry officials who were accused by the mayors.