HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Power Broker Under Investigation for Financial Crimes
BRIEF

Guatemala Power Broker Under Investigation for Financial Crimes

GUATEMALA / 23 APR 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Press in Guatemala have confirmed one of the main players in appointing the country's new attorney general is under investigation for financial crimes after InSight Crime's report into the process revealed his central role and murky connections.

Newspaper Prensa Libre has revealed that three open investigations into Gustavo Herrera -- the details of which were previously unknown -- are related to an alleged multi-million dollar fraud involving the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS) and for embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Aura Marina Lopez told Prensa Libre the IGSS case was pending the resolution of a civil trial, and until then no decision would be taken on whether to proceed with a criminal investigation.

Prosecutors who did not want to be named told the newspaper that the IGSS had requested the case against Herrera be closed on several occasions.

The report also details how Herrera built political alliances by sourcing financial backing for campaigns.

Prensa Libre secured an interview with Herrera himself, who told them, "I am an unknown, what interest could there be in me?"

InSight Crime Analysis

As InSight Crime has documented, Herrera is a critical power broker in the commissions that will appoint the next attorney general after a court ruling brought the term of Claudia Paz y Paz to a premature end. While it remains unlikely, Paz y Paz could yet be reappointed to the role.

In addition to the allegations of financial crimes, Herrera has also been accused of involvement in drug smuggling. In 2004, current Guatemalan President Otto Perez accused Herrera of collaborating with drug cartels in Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala, allegations Perez recently told InSight Crime he still stands by.

SEE ALSO: Guatemala: The War of Paz y Paz

Yet despite the suspicions and accusations of criminality, Herrera he has not only managed to garner enormous influence, he has also, until now, managed to do so while retaining a low public profile.

The publicity now surrounding Herrera is unlikely to derail his role in appointing the new attorney general, but as a figure that has favored operating in the shadows, it will make his position as one of Guatemala's murky power players more difficult to sustain.

However, US authorities told InSight Crime that Herrera is not currently a person of interest to them, meaning any possible prosecution would take place in Guatemala, where impunity levels remain sky-high for such top level operators. The irony of the situation is that the future of the one person who has done the most to reduce such impunity levels -- Claudia Pay y Paz -- is in no small part, now in Herrera's hands.

share 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.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCA / 22 DEC 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has a chance to reset the table on US-Latin American relations, but the Donald Trump administration’s schizophrenic,…

EXTRADITION / 8 AUG 2012

Guatemala announced it will extradite Waldemar Lorenzana, head of the Lorenzana crime family, to the US to face drug…

GUATEMALA / 25 MAY 2011

A Guatemalan prosecutor investigating a recent massacre involving the Zetas, a Mexican drug gang, was found mutilated and murdered in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

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…