Guatemala president refuses to resign amid corruption allegations
Guatemala president refuses to resign amid corruption allegations

[JURIST] Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina announced on Sunday that he has no plans to resign, despite accusations of corruption from the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) [official website] and widespread protests in the nation calling for his resignation. Perez Molina and about 30 other government officials are accused [BBC report] of taking millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for keeping low import duties. Eight other government officials have already resigned over the allegations, and Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti was arrested on Friday. CICIG examined [Reuters report] more than 89,000 phone taps and 6,000 e-mails in its investigation. However, Perez Molina maintains that he had no connection to the bribes, saying his conscience is clear.

In July the CICIG reported [JURIST report] that approximately a quarter of the money used for Guatemalan political campaigns comes from criminal groups. The day before, the commission petitioned to take away the immunity of one of Guatemala’s vice presidential contender, Edgar Barquin for allegedly laundering money that was used to fund his political campaign. In February former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo was released [JURIST report] from a US prison after serving a sentence for taking bribes from Taiwan.