Miami: Former Guatemalan minister sentenced to one year

MIAMI (HPD) — A former Guatemalan economy minister who pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy was sentenced Monday to one year in prison in federal court in South Florida.

In a hearing lasting about an hour in the Miami courts, federal judge José Martínez sentenced Asisclo Valladares Urruela to 12 months and one day in jail, followed by three years of supervised release. The magistrate recommended that the former Guatemalan minister remain in a federal prison in Miami.

Valladares Urruela had been accused in 2020 of helping to launder close to 10 million dollars for at least four years.

Foreigners are usually deported to their country of origin once they complete their sentence, without having to remain on parole.

According to an investigation by the FBI and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA, for its acronym in English), Valladares allowed the illegal drug trade creating a demand for money that could not be traced and that he used to bribe corrupt politicians of his country.

Valladares, a lawyer who served during the government of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, is a fugitive from justice in his country. There he is accused of illicit association and money laundering.

The former official lost immunity on January 14, 2020, when Morales left power.

In 2019, a congressional investigative commission decided not to remove the immunity he held as a minister, after the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) accused him of paying bribes to deputies in exchange for passing laws in favor of the company. telephony Tigo, for which he worked. The deputies said that the accusation was spurious and they had no proof.

Valladares Urruela still has a valid arrest warrant for a case of money laundering and illicit association. According to the investigation, a network linked to the exercise of power in different periods and governments was identified that took advantage of their positions to request and obtain bribes from contractors, at the same time that they used law firms and builders to cover up the origin and launder said resources. through offshore companies based in Panama and Belize and the purchase of real estate.

In the case of Valladares Urruela, it was determined that shares of a company that were acquired with bribes were found in the possession and administration of the former minister.

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