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International News: Ex-Guatemalan minister pleads guilty to money laundering

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Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2022. 10:09 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Former Guatemalan Economic Minister, Acisclo Valladares Urruela has reportedly pled guilty in a U.S. court to conspiring to money laundering and using a Miami bank to pay bribes to Guatemalan politicians, Latin Post reports.

The disgraced former politician admitted that he sent $350,000 in bribery payments to the unidentified Guatemalan politicians through 2 companies with bank accounts in Miami.

And based on a factual statement filed with his plea agreement, Valladares acknowledged that he received $140,000 for his money laundering operations.

According to the report, Valladares paid the bribes on account of the telecommunications company, Tigo, where he worked as a corporate officer.

In 2014, senior executives at Tigo reportedly “directed” him to get cash “to be used for the benefit of” Tigo, which was Valladares’ employer at the time.

This was before he was appointed as Minister of Economy and the operation involved “both Guatemalan and American financial institutions.”

Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Guatemala accused Valladares of illicit association and money laundering.

Then in 2020, the former minister lost his immunity as an official and became wanted in Guatemala for the case.

Valladares’ cooperation with prosecutors could give him an opportunity to apply for a visa to stay in the U.S. if it is proven that his life is in danger in Guatemala.

 

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