Carstens questions European leading the IMF

By the Associated Press | June 13, 2011 | 1:44 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mexican central banker Agustin Carstens says the next leader of the International Monetary Fund should not be European because those nations are borrowing heavily from the lending organization.

Carstens is pressing his long-shot candidacy to head the IMF. European officials have closed ranks behind French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who has emerged as the front-runner.

Carstens says Lagarde's candidacy would create "conflicts of interest" because Greece, Ireland and Portugal are borrowing heavily from the Fund.

A European has traditionally headed the IMF. Carstens is unlikely to pose a serious challenge to Lagarde, who consolidated her lead over the weekend. But his speech and a meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner should help Carstens build name recognition and position him for another top job in the future.