Friday 30 September 2016

Guatemala court rules against vice president Roxana Baldetti in customs scam

Published 07/05/2015 | 07:40

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Vice President Roxana Baldetti (L) REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez
Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Vice President Roxana Baldetti (L) REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

Guatemala's Supreme Court ruled lawmakers could revoke the vice president's immunity from prosecution to face a probe over a customs corruption racket allegedly led by her personal secretary.

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The court ruled there was sufficient evidence to justify an investigation of Vice President Roxana Baldetti after intercepted phone calls linked her to alleged bribery to avoid customs taxes.

Baldetti has denied any involvement, but opposition lawmakers have demanded she face an investigation and angry Guatemalans have spilled out into the streets calling for her resignation.

The country's divided Congress, where the ruling Patriot Party does not hold a majority, will now have to form a commission that could strip her of her immunity and open the way to criminal charges.

Twenty-four people, including the country's top tax agent, have already been arrested in the scandal and authorities are looking for Baldetti's former top aide, Juan Carlos Monzon.

Reuters

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