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Jan 27, 2010

Former Guatemalan president caught trying to flee to Belize

Alfonso Portillo

Alfonso Portillo

There is a major development in Guatemala today involving its former President, Alfonso Portillo, who was on the run since last Friday, when an extradition request made by the US government was granted by the Guatemalan court. Portillo was caught at Punta de Palma beach resort as he attempted to leave Guatemala by boat on Tuesday and it is believed he was heading to Belize. Dozens of soldiers and federal agents descended on him to secure his arrest before he was able to set sail.  But why does the US want the former Guatemalan President? Portillo is accused of laundering millions of dollars and committing a long list of offences during his tenure. He allegedly embezzled one point five million US dollars in donations from Taiwan, earmarked for library books. He endorsed cheques drawn from New York bank and depositing them to a Miami account. Those funds were then transferred to Paris in the name of his ex-wife and daughter. According to the US, he also colluded with a member of the Guatemalan military in 2001 and embezzled millions more from government revenues. While he was arrested on an extradition warrant, Portillo, with the help of attorney Telesforo Guerra, will fight to have be tried first in Guatemala before being handed over to the US. Guerra says they can prove that Portillo’s arrest is politically motivated. After his term ended from 2000 to 2004, Portillo fled to Mexico but was sent back to Guatemala for corruption charges in 2008. He has been under the microscope of US authorities since then. But during his presidency, Portillo supported efforts to settle the territorial claim by his country. That was despite a political environment in Guatemala that was not leaning towards a settlement. Portillo pushed for an early settlement in 2001 to avoid having to go to an international court.

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1 Response for “Former Guatemalan president caught trying to flee to Belize”

  1. melaine says:

    shame and disgrace, all ministers are the same. They all thief up the money for them to get rich and leave the poor people living in poverty. once again, shame and disgrace to the political race.

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