Last Friday Guatemala’s Attorney General sought to impeach Guatemalan President Otto Perez over a corruption scandal that led to the arrest of his former vice president, deepening a government crisis ahead of presidential elections next month.
Following months of investigation which included some 89,000 telephone taps, 6,000 emails and seventeen raids, prosecutors and a powerful U.N.-backed anti-corruption body known as the CICIG moved against Perez.
A report from Reuters says that quote, “Attorney General Thelma Aldana told a news conference it was "highly probable" that taped telephone conversations of people involved in the customs racket referred to Perez and ex-Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who stood down in May,” unquote.
Ex-Vice President Roxana Baldetti was arrested while she was receiving treatment at a hospital on Friday. The alleged crimes are illicit association, bribery as well as a special instance of fraud related to her links with customs fraud. Meanwhile, Baldetti has denied any wrongdoing.
The report in Reuters adds that quote, “According to the investigations, code names for Perez and Baldetti in the conversations identified each of them as the "head honcho" and the "farm owner," or as "number 1" and "number 2 and that there is no doubt that these refer to the president and former vice president.
Investigators said they believed Perez and Baldetti kept half the money earned from the customs scam, with the remaining 50 percent destined for other participants. So far, over twenty persons have been arrested over the scam, but investigators have still been unable to decipher how much money was involved. There was speculation the president could quit, though his spokesman Jorge Ortega said it was unlikely. Last week not enough members of the Guatemalan Congress voted to revoke his immunity so he could be investigated and should the Supreme Court approve his impeachment, the Congress would still have to consent.
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