MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) expelled an outgoing state governor from its ranks on Tuesday, saying the official violated party rules as head of the Gulf state of Veracruz.

Authorities issued an arrest warrant last week for Javier Duarte over his alleged involvement in organized crime and money laundering.

Duarte failed to attend a hearing of the party's justice committee on Tuesday and his whereabouts are not known.

"The expulsion of Javier Duarte de Ochoa was decided because it has been proved ... that he systematically violated the party rules and ethics codes," the party said in a statement.

With his expulsion, the ruling party of President Enrique Pena Nieto said it had re-affirmed its fight against corruption, an issue that had cast a shadow over the PRI.

Late last month, the party suspended Duarte's membership after federal authorities began investigating charges including the diversion of public funds and embezzlement.

Duarte, who presided over a spike in gang violence and kidnappings in Veracruz, as well a doubling of state debt, has denied wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Natalie Schachar; Editing by Robert Birsel)