HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Business Tycoon Busted for Tax Fraud
BRIEF

Guatemala Business Tycoon Busted for Tax Fraud

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 JUL 2016 BY SEAN TJADEN AND DAN ALDER EN

One of Guatemala’s most important business figures has been arrested for tax evasion, as the corruption scandals that have rocked the country’s political elite appear to be expanding to encompass prominent members of the private sector.

Carlos Enrique Monteros Castillo, owner and president of the Camino Real hotel chain, was apprehended July 9 at Guatemala City’s international airport in connection with “tax fraud and special tax fraud” related to his company, the Attorney General’s office reported. Camino Real S.A.’s administrative manager, José Humberto Jiménez Contreras, was arrested at his home in Guatemala City.

On July 13, a judge ordered Jiménez Contreras into house arrest and gave the prosecutors office one month to make its case against him.   

Camino Real owner and legal representative Monteros Castillo was detained upon returning from the United States and taken to a courthouse holding cell where he stayed briefly before moving to a private hospital for medical reasons, Prensa Libre reported.

The charges stem from an investigation begun in 2012 after the Superintendent for Tax Administration (SAT) informed prosecutors that audits had uncovered irregularities at the firm, the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement. Authorities allege that the hotel executives used an intermediary named Norman Tejeda, who administered some 70 shell companies and “sold receipts for a percentage to simulate purchases and evade taxes.” 

Monteros Castillo was arrested late Saturday and by Tuesday the government had been paid the equivalent of approximately $5.9 million in back taxes, interest and penalties, Prensa Libre reported. The latest statement on the case from the Attorney General’s Office did not specify whether or not the hotel owner was still under arrest.

InSight Crime Analysis

This high-profile tax evasion case follows a series of corruption scandals involving the country’s top political leaders. Corruption charges brought by the Attorney General’s Office and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG) led to the resignation and jailing of President Otto Pérez Molina and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti.

Pérez Molina and Baldetti have been charged with running a huge customs fraud scheme, collecting bribes from a Spanish port management firm, and receiving vacation homes and other extravagant gifts from members of their cabinet, some of which were purchased with purloined public funds.

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles 

Digging into the administration’s dealings prosecutors uncovered that they came to power under the banner of the Patriot Party (Partido Patriota – PP) via massive campaign finance fraud that spawned a the case dubbed Cooptación del Estado.

“It was easy for the criminal structure of the PP to get into power thanks to the financing of all manner of businessmen,” according to CICIG.

Among the accused was prominent banker Flavio Montenegro Castillo, who promptly resigned as general manager of Banco G&T Continental. The bank describes itself as Guatemala’s second biggest financial group. The president of Banrural, Fernando Peña, was also charged in that case.

Not long after announcing the cooptation case Attorney General Thelma Aldana complained of receiving threats. She has been outside of Guatemala for the past three weeks.

That authorities are targeting big fish in the private sector as well as the government signals a willingness to root out deeply entrenched corruption even among the rich and powerful. Aldana’s absence may be an indication that that battle is far from won.

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

ARGENTINA / 7 JUN 2017

The arrest in March 2017 of top local officials in the town of Itatí, in Argentina's northern province of Corrientes…

COLOMBIA / 12 APR 2016

A recent scandal involving large sums of cash linked to underworld figures suggests the corrupting influence of Colombia's so-called BACRIM…

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 JUN 2020

In 2015 and 2016, anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala saw a ray of hope, as criminal investigations led to the resignation…

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…