Guatemala: Ex-President Otto Perez, deputy sentenced to 16 years in prison for corruption

The former president of Guatemala, Otto Perez, received a 16-year prison sentence from a Guatemalan court on Wednesday after being found guilty of running a significant customs fraud operation while in office.

As Judge Irma Valdes gave out the punishment, she stated that Perez, who was made to retire in 2015, had been found guilty of racketeering and fraud aimed at the customs system.

On each count, Perez received a sentence of eight years.

The same penalty was given to his former vice president, Roxana Baldetti.

A Guatemalan anti-corruption organization with support from the United Nations (UN) exposed a number of scandals until Jimmy Morales, the country’s former president, shut it down in 2019 after it started looking into him.

Uncovering a multimillion-dollar scam to evade Guatemala’s customs duties system was one of its major accomplishments and ultimately resulted in Perez’s departure.

Investigators claim that those involved in the conspiracy which is known as “La Linea” (The Line) got bribes totaling around $3.5 million and that Guatemala was robbed of close to $10 million in tax income.

During the sentencing process, 16 additional fraud participants were found guilty, while 11 others were found not guilty.

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