Guatemala: president resigns under scandal probe

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina sent a letter to both the country's congress and reporters early Aug. 3 announcing his resignation and his intention to "stand before justice." The congress had called an emergency session to meet that day to accept the letter of resignation. Several hours before resigning, the public prosecutor requested Pérez Molina's arrest on corruption charges and a trial judge ordered his arrest. Pérez Molina and 30 other government officials allegedly took millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for keeping low import duties. Vice President Alejandro Maldonado has assumed the presidency, and must compile a list of three names for consideration for vice president, to be chosen by congress. Maldonado replaced vice president Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested in August on corruption charges. Eight other government officials have already resigned over the allegations. Pérez Molina's resignation comes only three days before the Guatemalan general election.

Frm Jurist, Sept. 3. Used with permission.

Guatemala's ex-prez in the dock

Former Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina declared his innocence Sept. 4 at his hearing for corruption charges. Molina was arrested after his resignation for his role in propagating a scheme in which business leaders paid bribes to avoid having to pay duties to Guatemala's customs agency. (Jurist, Sept. 5)

Guatemala's ex-prez accused of bribery

Guatemalan Attorney General Thelma Aldana on April 15 accused former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina of accepting part of a $25 million bribe while in office. Pérez Molina, who is already awaiting trial on conspiracy charges filed after he was forced out of office in 2015, stands accused of accepting a bribe in exchange for helping Terminal de Contenedores Barcelona (TCB), a Spanish company, win a 25-year contract to operate a container terminal in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. Along with Pérez Molina, authorities arrested former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, TCB's Juan Jose Suarez and eight other Guatemalan former government officials.

In December, Pérez Molina was formally charged by prosecutors, suspected of illicit association, customs fraud and bribery. (Jurist)