San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Guatemalan Authorities Seize Assets of Ex-President

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) –Guatemalan authorities this week confiscatedtwo vehicles and a property belongingto former President Alfonso Portillo(2000-2004), who stands accused ofembezzlement and is living in exile inMexico.The nation’s Attorney General’sOffice had filed a forfeiture petition so thegovernment could recover part of thefinancial losses that Portillo allegedlycaused during his administration.Prosecutors accuse Portillo of beingbehind the diversion of $15.7 million,which “disappeared” after being transferredto the Defense Ministry.A court Oct. 4 ordered the seizure ofthe two vehicles and a property in the easterncity of Zacapa, Portillo’s hometown.On Feb. 18, 2004, after losing hisimmunity from prosecution, Portillosneaked out of the country by land to ElSalvador and went from there to Mexico,where he has described himself as a “persecutedpolitician.”Several months later, Mexican immigrationauthorities granted a work permitto Portillo, who, according to pressreports, has worked as a consultant to severalMexican companies. Guatemalarequested his extradition in October.

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