In Guatemala, the trial began against former President Otto Pérez Molina and former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, seven years after the authorities revealed an alleged customs fraud network known as “La Línea”, a cause for which both have been detained since 2015.
The Public Ministry points to 28 people accused of forming a structure within the central government that was supposedly dedicated to making illegal charges to companies in order to then speed up customs procedures.
Retired General Otto Pérez Molina and Baldetti face charges of illicit association, customs fraud and passive bribery. Both have repeatedly denied the accusations and have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The “La Línea” case was revealed in 2015 and was the reason for both former governors to resign. The binomial governed between 2012 and 2015.
The dissolved International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), an independent body sponsored by the United Nations, maintained that this network operated through a specific telephone line that operated inside and outside the Tax Administration Superintendence.
The Public Ministry and the CICIG indicated that in order to get to the core of the case it was necessary to intercept more than 66,000 telephone calls and thousands of emails.
During the hearing this Monday in the High Risk Court B in Guatemala City, former Vice President Baldetti said she had covid-19. She denounced before Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez that the authorities of the Santa Teresa prison —where she has been housed since 2015— had not carried out the test to rule out the disease, and assured that she suffered from some symptoms.
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