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Obama campaign returning about $200,000 tied to casino owner who fled country

Obama at podium

January 27, 2012: President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference.AP

President Barack Obama's campaign is returning about $200,000 in contributions collected by family members of a Mexican casino owner who fled the U.S. after facing drug and fraud charges.

The Obama campaign says it decided to return the donations arranged by Chicago brothers Carlos Cardona and Alberto Rojas Cardona, who had begun raising money for the campaign and the Democratic National Committee last year.

The New York Times reported late Monday that the fundraisers are the brothers of casino owner Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, who skipped bail in Iowa in 1994 and has since been linked to violence and corruption in Mexico.

The campaign says it refunded the money raised by family members after the newspaper asked about the brothers' fundraising role.