Guatemala Judge: Fmr. Pres. Pérez Molina to Be Tried for Corruption (VIDEO)

Sep 9, 2015
9:47 AM
Otto Peréz Molina, former president of Guatemala

Otto Peréz Molina, former president of Guatemala

Yesterday a Guatemalan judge ordered Otto Pérez Molina to stand trial on corruption charges and remain in jail until the trial’s December date.

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez said there was enough evidence for the former president to be charged with customs fraud, racketeering and bribery, according to the BBC.

Pérez Molina stepped down last week after the discovery of a corruption scandal led to massive protests in the streets of the capital city.

From the BBC:

A UN commission helped gather criminal evidence for the case which they say is based on around 89,000 wire-tapped phone calls.

The scheme was dubbed ‘La Linea’ (the line), after a telephone hotline businesses allegedly called to get in touch with corrupt officials.

Prosecutors allege the scheme collected $3.8m in bribes between May 2014 and April 2015, including $800,000 each to Mr Perez and former vice-president Roxana Baldetti, who has already been jailed.

The former president pleaded his innocence with the judge: “Your honour, I am not going to risk my dignity, my work, nor all the effort I have made for Guatemala in return for $800,000.”

Meanwhile at least five people were hurt and 16 arrested in separate incidents following Sunday’s general election.

From EFE:

The incidents occurred over the past few hours in the eastern province of El Progreso, the northern region of Peten and in the southern province of Escuintla, said National Police spokesman Jorge Aguilar.

He said that supporters of different parties clashed in the El Progreso village of Estancia de la Virgen over disagreements with the vote counting process.

Police there arrested seven people who set fire to a car and paramedics transported a 21-year-old man with a bullet wound to a clinic, he added.

In San Andres, Peten, security forces arrested five people who were involved in election-related disturbances in the area and attacked police with sticks and stones, leaving three officers injured.

Comedian Jimmy Morales, who ran as a political outsider, won the presidential race with 23.9 percent of the vote, far short of the 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a run-off election.

Morales is waiting for the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to announce the winner of a dead heat between former first lady Sandra Torres of the center-left UNE and businessman Manuel Baldizon of the center-right Lider party, both at 19.6 percent.

The winner of the October run-off election will replace Vice President Alejandro Maldonado, the former conservative judge who became acting president after Pérez Molina’s resignation.