Investigation into the involvement of the President of Guatemala in a corruption case

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Investigation into allegations that Russian businessmen bribed President Alejandro Yamatei to buy a dock in one of its main ports Guatemala conducted by prosecutors from the Central American country.

Juan Luis Pantaleon, a spokesman for Guatemala’s attorney general, said the case had been handed over to corrupt prosecutors, adding that no investigation was under way against the head of state, as he had not been referred to Congress. justice.

Patricia Letona, a spokeswoman for Mr Yamatei, said in a statement that the presidency had not yet commented on the matter.

The case was first uncovered by Juan Francisco Sandoval, who was head of the Guatemalan Special Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía Especial contra la Impunidad, FECI) until relieved of his duties Attorney General Maria Poras in June.

According to Mr. Santoval, four Russian businessmen who have invested in the Guatemalan mining sector sent the amount of the bribe into a rug to the president in April. In return, they asked to be given part of the port of Santo Tomas de Castilla to build their own dock. The Guatemalan mining company linked to the four Russians denies any bribery.

The former head of FECI, who left Guatemala in July, complained that he was fired because the attorney general wanted to prevent him from investigating corruption cases involving the country’s president. Alejandro Yamatei denies involvement in any such case.

The Attorney General’s Office also announced yesterday that an arrest warrant had been issued for Mr. Sandoval, who is accused of abuse of office and obstruction of court proceedings.

“I am ready to defend my honor and my reputation, the facts and the ethics are on my side,” Santoval said on Twitter yesterday. He returned the accusation leveled at Ms. Poras, calling on her to stop “obstructing justice”.

The corruption case involving the name of Alejandro Yamatei is added to a number of similar ones. The current president’s predecessor, Jimmy Morales, faced the risk of being sued as the Guatemalan Commission against Impunity (CICIG), which was acting with the support of the UN until he was expelled from the country in 2019, accused him of bribery. But he overcame the danger when Congress voted against his referral in 2017.

Two years earlier, former President Otto Perez was forced to resign and jailed after being convicted of corruption, extorting millions of dollars, following an investigation by CICIG.

Jimmy Morales let CICIG’s mandate expire in 2018, before ousting her from the country.

Otto Peres remains in prison.

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