San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Taiwan to deliver bribery report on Guatemala ex-president

Taiwan will deliver next week a report on statements by ex-president Alfonso Portillo that he received millions of dollars in bribes from Taipei for diplomatic recognition, Guatemala said late Friday.

Portillo (2000-2004) pleaded guilty Tuesday in a New York courtroom to receiving the bribes to offer diplomatic recognition to Taipei over Beijing.

Taiwan will hand over to Guatemala a report related to Portillo’s recent declarations, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Guatemala is one of 22 countries, mostly in Central America and the Caribbean, that recognize Taiwan diplomatically over mainland China.

China regards Taiwan as a rebel island awaiting unification, by force if necessary, even though ties have improved markedly since 2008.

Taiwan has donated millions of dollars to Guatemala to build schools and roads, and for agricultural projects among other things.

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina said Wednesday that ties with Taiwan remained strong, and that they “should not be affected by events that happened 14 years ago.”

Portillo was the first former Latin American leader extradited to the United States. He admitted conspiring to commit money-laundering from 1999 to 2009.

The 62-year-old ex-leader is now expected to face between 46 and 71 months in prison, a fine of $10,000 to $500,000 and probable deportation from the United States.



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