This past Wednesday, September 6, 2023, a Guatemalan court sentenced former President of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, to an eight-year prison term in yet another corruption case; corruption scandals led to his resignation in 2015. Ex-president Perez Molina served from 2012 to 2015.
Judge Eva Recinos delivered the verdict after the ex-president admitted guilt in the charges, including money laundering, passive bribery, and fraud.
“I accept the three crimes that they are charging me with,” said the ex-president during his statement before Judge Eva Recinos.
Ex-president Otto Perez Molina’s original sentence was 16 years in prison, but it was reduced to 8 years due to him pleading guilty to the charges. The former president must also pay over three million dollars in penalties.
This sentencing is part of the “Cooptation of the State” case involving the misappropriation of public funds. Wednesday’s sentence marks the second conviction for Perez Molina in less than a year.
Previously, on December 8, 2022, the former president, a retired general, received an incommutable 16-year prison sentence for orchestrating a customs fraud network with million-dollar implications.
The sentencing occurred during a hearing held at the High-Risk Court B in the Guatemalan capital. Pérez Molina appeared in casual attire, wearing a t-shirt and black jacket.
Prosecutors alleged that Perez Molina was involved in an illicit scheme with his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, in which they received substantial bribes in exchange for awarding more than 70 contracts to various companies. Vice-president Roxana Baldetti has already been convicted in two separate corruption cases.
Perez Molina made a statement acknowledging his responsibility:
I want to affirm that I am indeed accountable for issuing directives regarding the construction of a terminal at a port located to the south of the capital.” Otto Perez Molina.
“If I made omissions, errors, or committed any crimes, I take responsibility for it. I accept responsibility because I provided instructions to relevant individuals, but somewhere along the line, a series of omissions and actions may have occurred that led to the commission of the fraud,” declared the ex-president.
Following the verdict, the ex-president was taken back to jail. Otto Perez Molina resigned from the presidency and was incarcerated on September 3, 2015, following public protests.