Guatemala: Ex-President Portillo Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

EspañolAlfonso Portillo, President of Guatemala from 2000 to 2004, pleaded guilty to conspiracy last Tuesday in a federal court in New York, admitting he accepted US$2.5 million in bribes to maintain diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.

According to the terms of the plea agreement, Portillo will not appeal his sentence of four to six years in prison, scheduled to begin on June 23.

Portillo’s lawyers attempted to negotiate an early release from prison based on good behavior, since the former president has spent the last three teaching classes while in jail.

During his testimony, Portillo admitted to conspiring with Guatemalan bankers and others to transfer US$2.5 million through US banks, “knowing that the transactions were designed in part to conceal and disguise the source and ownership of the money.”

Guatemalan officials said the prosecution in the region has been strengthened by the former president’s admission of guilt. For its part, the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) said it is important that Portillo has accepted his charges and pleaded guilty accordingly.

Source: Prensa Libre.

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