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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto opens the 36th session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City. A Mexican news outlet published Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, a report alleging that Pena Nietos thesis for his law degree was heavily plagiarized. Aristegui Noticias says 29 percent of the thesis was material lifted from other works. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto heavily plagiarized the thesis for his law degree, according to an investigation by a local news outlet.

Aristegui Noticias on Sunday published an online report based on an analysis of the embattled president’s thesis by a group of academics, which it said was then corroborated by the news outlet.

It said 29 percent of the thesis was material lifted from other works, including 20 paragraphs copied word-for-word from a book written by former President Miguel de la Madrid without citation or mention in the bibliography.

A spokesman for Pena Nieto responded Sunday that the president had completed all requirements for his law degree and downplayed the relevance of “style errors” in academic work done 25 years earlier.

Pena Nieto did not mention the controversy on Monday as he spoke in front of students at his old elementary school in Toluca to inaugurate the first day of the new school year Monday,.

The thesis titled “Mexican Presidentialism and Alvaro Obregon” was submitted in 1991 to the Panamerican University.

– AP