Parker Asmann writes in Insight Crime about the latest manoeuvrings being carried out in defence of corruption and impunity in Guatemala. The elites look to be doubling down on their disregard for the rule of law.
Guatemala seems to have brushed aside international pressure to crack down on entrenched government corruption, as authorities dropped charges against an embattled former president on the same day they arrested top anti-graft investigators.
A high court ruled on May 19 that former President Otto Pérez Molina will not be prosecuted in connection to the so-called Network of Power, Corruption and Money Laundering case (Red de Poder, Corrupción y Lavado de Dinero), Guatemalan media reported. This followed a January ruling that the evidence presented by the anti-impunity unit (Fiscalía Especializada Contra la Impunidad — FECI) within Guatemala’s Attorney General’s Office was not strong enough to move forward with criminal charges against Pérez Molina.
Uncovered in 2019 by the United Nations-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala — CICIG), the case centers on a criminal network of powerful elites that demanded millions of dollars in bribes from businesses in exchange for state contracts.
On the same day Pérez Molina had the charge against him dropped, the Attorney General’s Office announced the arrest of Juan Francisco Solórzano Foppa, the country’s former tax chief who helped build a corruption case against Pérez Molina. Anibal Arguello, a former lawyer and CICIG investigator, was also arrested. Both face charges related to a case involving allegedly forged official documents for a new political party that Solórzano Foppa was attempting to create.
Arguello is also a key witness in the landmark La Línea corruption case, the multimillion-dollar customs fraud scandal that led to Pérez Molina’s resignation and arrest, along with that of his vice president at the time, Roxana Baldetti. After coming to light in 2015, the case is set to go to trial in January 2022.
You can read the full piece here, Guatemala Drops Charges Against Former President, Arrests Anti-Corruption Prosecutors.