No immunity for corruption-plagued Guatemala president
GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s president lost a fight for immunity from prosecution Tuesday amid allegations of corruption.
The Constitutional Court rejected President Otto Pérez Molina’s appeal for presidential immunity that also sought to legally erase a pre-trial investigation of graft allegations, chief justice Gloria Porras told reporters.
The court, which outweighs the Supreme Court here, is Guatemala’s highest legal body.
A congressional committee is currently probing how much Pérez Molina knew about fraud by senior officials in the customs and social security systems.
The probe against Pérez Molina was requested by opposition party Winaq after a U.N.-backed investigation aimed at cleaning up the Guatemalan judicial system reported in April that senior customs officials had taken bribes from businessmen seeking to avoid paying taxes.
Guatemala has been in political upheaval since the U.N. commission started releasing findings on the customs fraud scheme, leading to the resignation of vice president Roxana Baldetti.
In a separate scandal, the president of the central bank and the director of the social security system — both of whom are close to Pérez Molina — were arrested in May on charges of cheating the social security system out of $15 million.
Demonstrators have marched demanding the president step down several times in recent months.
You may be interested
The Tico Times Weekly Digest: Jan. 21, 2019.Alexander Villegas - January 21, 2019
An attack in Nicaragua, our Puerto Viejo Deep Dive and a new Sele squad. These stories and more in this…
Venezuela military group arrested after call to disavow MaduroAFP - January 21, 2019
A group of soldiers rose up against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at a command post near Caracas on Monday, but…
Prominent anti-Ortega journalist seeks refuge in Costa RicaAFP and The Tico Times - January 21, 2019
Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, a critic of Daniel Ortega's government, announced on Sunday that he has decided to leave…