Nearshore Americas
finance minister Acisclo Valladares Urruela

Guatemala’s Former Finance Minister Admits to Money Laundering

Guatemala’s former Finance Minister Acisclo Valladares Urruela confessed to paying bribes to fellow lawmakers as part of a plot designed to help telecom carrier Tigo secure lucrative contracts in the Central American country.

Valladares Urruela received US$140,000 in return for his role in the money laundering scheme, reported Miami Herald citing a guilty statement filed with the Miami Federal Court.

The former Finance Minister, who served during the administration of former president Jimmy Morales, wired $350,000 to a group of unnamed Guatemalan politicians through two US bank accounts.

Following the payments, the Guatemalan Congress passed a law paving the way for Tigo to win “lucrative government contracts,” according to the report.

The confession comes at a time Central American countries are under tremendous pressure from the US government, which finds corruption and gang violence as major reasons for the exodus in the region.

The guilty plea will focus the spotlight on Jimmy Morales, who successfully chased out the UN-backed anti-corruption body (the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, known also as CICIG) after it began investigating corruption allegations against his family.

Even current President Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla endorsed his predecessor’s decision, saying the CICIG threatened Guatemala’s sovereignty.

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Giammattei later decided to create a separate anti-corruption body tied to its office.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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