HomeNewsBriefEx-President of Guatemala Facing More Corruption Charges
BRIEF

Ex-President of Guatemala Facing More Corruption Charges

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 JUN 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

Authorities in Guatemala have accused jailed former President Otto Pérez Molina and his vice president in yet another illegal scheme, pointing to the depth and breadth of political corruption in the country’s previous presidential administration.

The United Nations-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG) and the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office announced charges related to a massive illegal campaign finance network in a June 2 press release. More than two dozen suspects have been arrested, and several international arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the case.

According to an internationally supported investigation, Pérez Molina began the illicit campaign finance scheme after his losing presidential bid of 2007. From 2008 until the 2011 election, Pérez Molina and his soon-to-be vice president, Roxana Baldetti, allegedly created a network of companies headed by front men which laundered illicit campaign payments from businesses and individuals.

After Pérez Molina and Baldetti won the 2011 election, the investigation found, those who provided the illicit campaign funds were rewarded with favors from governmental entities. The investigation linked at least 450 state contracts to the criminal structure, and found that the illicit campaign financing amounted to at least 500 million quetzals, or about US$65.5 million.

Guatemalan authorities have previously tied Pérez Molina and Baldetti to two other major corruption schemes. One of these plots, known as “La Linea,” involved companies paying bribes to customs officials in exchange for help avoiding import taxes. The other scandal involved allegations that Pérez Molina accepted bribes from a Spanish company in exchange for steering a major port development contract toward that firm.

InSight Crime Analysis

In addition to Pérez Molina and Baldetti, the illegal campaign finance network included several individuals whose names have also surfaced in connection with the other corruption investigations mentioned above. The new allegations against the former president and former vice-president suggest that they were not only personally involved in corrupt acts, but also that, in CICIG’s words, they led a “criminal mafia structure that had co-opted power through the ballot box in Guatemala.”   

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

The anti-corruption actions undertaken by CICIG and the Attorney General’s Office have landed Pérez Molina and Baldetti in jail, and it appears that their criminal networks have been largely dismantled. But while the ongoing investigation and prosecution of suspects linked to political corruption during the previous presidential administration serve as signs of progress, Guatemala will undoubtedly face many challenges — including financial constraints and judicial corruption — as the country continues its fight against graft in the future. 

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 24 OCT 2011

Several Central American nations are increasing their defense budgets after decades of demilitarization, citing the need to combat organized crime.

ELITES AND CRIME / 14 JAN 2020

Alejandro Giammattei assumes Guatemala's presidency facing various security challenges, including drug trafficking, impunity, institutional weakness and poor law enforcement. And two…

ELITES AND CRIME / 1 JUN 2018

The Supreme Court in Honduras has issued a complicated ruling on the constitutionality of an independent anti-graft body that keeps…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…