THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Woman admits her role in affair with S.C. governor

Maria Belen Chapur Maria Belen Chapur
Associated Press / June 29, 2009
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BUENOS AIRES - A 41-year-old Argentine woman acknowledged having a relationship with Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, saying yesterday that widely published e-mail correspondence between the two was obtained from her account without permission.

In a brief statement sent to news network C5n of Buenos Aires, Maria Belen Chapur said she will not talk about her private life, which has already been the focus of intense media scrutiny in the United States and Argentina.

“I have decided to send this statement to clear up certain incorrect things that are being reported, and put an end to a matter that, as you imagine, is very painful to me, my two children, my entire family, and close friends.’’

Chapur said someone accessed her Hotmail account without permission late last year and leaked e-mail correspondence that described a relationship with Sanford to the South Carolina newspaper The State.

But she denied that the hacker is a friend of hers - as has been widely reported here - saying he is as much a victim of the media frenzy as she.

“I have a strong suspicion of who is responsible for this evil act that was directed at me but also destroyed the lives of so many others,’’ Chapur said. “But without sufficient proof, and for legal reasons, I am obligated to not reveal the name.

“It is not for me to judge anyone. I leave it all in the hands of God,’’ she concluded.

Chapur has been widely reported to have been Sanford’s mistress after the governor admitted to the relationship after a secret trip to Argentina this month.

But he did not identify Chapur.

Reporters staked out Chapur’s building in the Argentine capital for days trying to locate her, and pressing for information from neighbors and the owner of a bar that Chapur and Sanford reportedly visited.

People who know Chapur describe her as an elegant, well-mannered, soft-spoken woman who speaks several languages. Divorced, she has two sons.