Guatemalan ex-president accused of bribery

Guatemalan ex-president accused of bribery

[JURIST] Guatemalan Attorney General Thelma Aldana [official website] on Friday accused [PublicNews story, in Spanish] former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina of accepting part of a $25 million bribe while in office. Pérez Molina, who is already awaiting trial on conspiracy charges filed after he was forced out of office in 2015, stands accused of accepting a bribe in exchange for helping Terminal de Contenedores Barcelona (TCB), a Spanish company, win a 25-year contract to operate a container terminal in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. Along with Pérez Molina, authorities arrested former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, TCB’s Juan Jose Suarez and eight other Guatemalan former government officials.

In December, Pérez Molina was charged [JURIST report] by prosecutors, suspected of illicit association, customs fraud and bribery. Pérez Molina was jailed [JURIST report] pending investigation in September following an indictment over corruption charges. Also in September, Pérez Molina sent [JURIST report] a letter [El Periódico materials, in Spanish] to both the Guatemalan congress and reporters announcing his resignation and his intention to “stand before justice.” The day before his resignation, Pérez Molina was stripped of his presidential immunity [JURIST report] by a unanimous vote by congress. After Pérez Molina announced [JURIST report] in August that he had no plans to resign, Guatemala’s Supreme Court approved [JURIST report] prosecutors’ requests to impeach the president.