Twelve people, including four public employees, are accused of attempting to embezzle 160 million pesos ($12.1 million) from Mexico's national lottery, authorities said.

Around $8 million of the money has been recovered, the Attorney General's Office and several other federal agencies said in a joint statement.

The announcement followed a front-page story in capital daily Reforma that revealed some details of the scheme to rig the Jan. 22 drawing.

Four directors of state-owned lottery administrator PAP, two employees of Just Marketing, the private firm that films and broadcasts the drawings, and six other people conspired to hold and videotape the drawing ahead of the deadline for purchasing tickets, Reforma said.

The conspirators then deceived an interior ministry official into certifying the drawing as valid.

The scam was detected by a PAP manager who noticed that the prize was claimed by relatives of Just Marketing executives and employees, according to the newspaper's account.

Sources in the federal inspector general's office told Efe the investigation is still in progress and that the official government statement was prompted by the Reforma story.

The four PAP directors implicated in the case have been removed from their posts, the Mexican government said. 

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