Former Guatemala President Extradited on Laundering Charge

Published: 31 May 2013


Alfonso Portillo, a former Guatemalan President, was extradited to the United States and will face trial on charges of conspiring to launder millions of dollars he allegedly embezzled while President, according to a US Attorney’s Office press release.

The indictment against Portillo claims that he stole tens of millions of dollars from the people of Guatemala laundered the funds through American and European financial institutions.

Portillo allegedly stole $1.5 million gifted by the Taiwanese Embassy to Guatemala for a program designed to buy books for school libraries.  He is also accused of stealing $3.9 million from the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense to fund private land deals and loan money to associates, and of misappropriating reserves from the country’s national bank to fund a lavish lifestyle, the press release said.

The ex-president allegedly used multiple transfers and transactions to obscure the source of the funds, and deposited much of the money in accounts under names of family members and associates to hide it. Once in family accounts, the money was moved through other bank accounts in Europe and the United States in an attempt to further hide its origins, the indictment said.

If convicted, Portillo faces a possible 20-year prison sentence and a fine of up to twice the value of the funds that were allegedly laundered.