Ex-Guatemalan President Portillo Indicted for Money Laundering

By Joel Zand on January 25, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Alfonso Portillo, the former President of Guatemala, was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on charges that he embezzled $1.5 million that was donated to buy books for Guatemalan school libraries, approximately $3.9 earmarked for the country's Ministry of Defense, and took other money from the public financed reserves of a Guatemalan national bank.

According to Portillo's indictment, none of the $1.5 in money given by Taiwan's government to purchase books for the countries  'Libraries for Peace' program wound up in Guatemalaan school libraries.  Instead, the money allegedly ended up in the French bank accounts of Portillo's former wife and daughter, and was laundered even further through Luxembourg and Swiss bank accounts.

Where is where is the former Guatemalan leader right now?

Nery Morales, a spokesperson for Guatemala's Interior Ministry, told Reuters yesterday that on Friday, a Guatemalan court approvated a formal extradition request for Portillo made by the United States.

In addtion to allegedly taking $3.9 million for himself and an alleged co-conspirator from U.S. banks accounts controlled by Guatemala's Ministry of Defense, Portillo is also accused of using overdraft withdrawals and transfers to buy personal toys like expensive watches and cars for himself and his associates.

The case is being prosecuted in New York City by the U.S. Attorney for the Soutern District of New York.


Photo credit: Organization of American States

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