Guatemala Ex-Ministers Arrested for Corruption

Guatemala Ex-Ministers Arrested for CorruptionGuatemala Ex-Ministers Arrested for Corruption

Three former government ministers have been arrested in Guatemala on corruption charges. All served under former president Perez Molina, who is in jail facing charges of money laundering and conspiracy.

About 2,000 people gathered for a demonstration in the center of Guatemala City on Saturday to support the prosecutors and the crackdown on corruption, Deutsche Welle reported.

Former defense ministers Ulises Anzuelo and Manuel Lopez Ambrosio and former interior minister, Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, were arrested in Guatemala on Saturday and charged with corruption.

The announcement of their arrests was made at a joint news conference by Guatemala’s attorney general, Thelma Aldana, and the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). They worked together to build a case against former president Perez Molina last year.

Chief Prosecutor Thelma Aldana said the men arrested on Saturday were part of a group that used about $4.3 million in state funds to buy gifts, including houses, boats and a helicopter, for Perez Molina. They face charges of money laundering and conspiracy.

Interior Minister Francisco Rivas said international arrest orders were also being sought for former energy minister, Erick Archila, and former communications minister, Alejandro Sinibaldi.

Arriving at court offices, Lopez Bonilla said he did not know the reasons for his detention but expressed confidence in the country’s judicial system.

“I believe that at the end of the day, things will be cleared up,” he said. “I can’t say more than that; I am proud of the work I did.”

The corruption investigations are being headed by CICIG, which was set up in 2006 to help Guatemala reform its justice system and confront criminal gangs that had infiltrated the state.

Molina’s government was brought down after a corruption scheme called “La Linea” or “The Line” was discovered involving the country’s customs services.

The line referred to the hotline businesses allegedly rang to clear their imports through customs at cut-price rates.