A new report alleges Guatemala’s recently resigned president Otto Perez Molina accepted a bribe from Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, an accusation that, if confirmed, would further tarnish the already disgraced leader.
According to Guatemalan news program Noticiero Guatevision, Perez Molina accepted a $1.5 million bribe from El Chapo in 1993 in exchange for shielding him from Mexican authorities, but later betrayed the drug lord.
El Chapo — who in July escaped a maximum-security Mexican prison for the second time — was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and sent to a Mexican prison (from which he escaped in 2001). Perez Molina, at the time a general in the Guatemalan army, claimed he lead the 1993 operation against El Chapo, and that the Sinaloa Cartel leader offered a bribe “10 to 15 times” larger than what Perez Molina is accused of receiving in an ongoing customs fraud scandal know as La Linea.
The ex-president is currently facing charges of fraud, racketeering, and receiving bribes in relation to the scandal.
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According to investigators, Perez Molina received around $800,000 from the La Linea scam, a claim he countered by telling of the time he arrested El Chapo. (See video below) Why, Perez Molina asked the court, would he risk his reputation and career over a smaller sum with La Linea, when he’d already rejected a much greater amount from El Chapo?
Perez Molina claiming he refused a bribe from El Chapo
InSight Crime Analysis
Perez Molina’s bizarre defense of denying bribery charges by evidencing another alleged bribe may backfire.
Noticiero Guatevision, citing the International Journalism Service’s Mexico branch, said Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office confirmed it had uncovered details of the alleged bribe during an investigation into the 1993 murder of a Catholic archbishop.
If Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office comes forth with evidence that Perez Molina did take El Chapo’s money, Perez Molina will be further damned in the eyes of a country where his resignation was widely celebrated, and it would be a huge blow to his defense in the current La Linea case.
Meanwhile, El Chapo remains at large, and is likely smiling at the predicament of a man who once turned him over to Mexican authorities, and possibly cheated him out of $1.5 million in the process.