Guatemala’s ex-ambassador to the United States Julio Ligorria was arrested by Spain’s Interpol Tuesday in Madrid.
Ligorria was ambassador from 2013 until 2015 during the Otto Perez Molina administration. He has been hiding out in an upscale area of Madrid since July when Guatemala’s attorney general and the Guatemalan International Commission Against Impunity put out a warrant for his arrest in connection to a complex money laundering campaign that channeled funds from the Guatemalan government to Molina’s Patriotic party.
Members of the Guatemalan government received an email informing them of his arrest.
In 2011 Ligorria channeled approximately $US2 million from Telgua, Guatemala’s state communications company through six fraudulent companies managed by the former Minister of Communications Alejandro Sinibaldi to the PP. The intent was to get PP into power so that Telgua could receive contracts. A part of the monies also went to Tigo, a private telecommunications company in Guatemala that also helped finance the right-wing PP campaign.
Seventeen people have been arrested in the investigation so far, including a lawyer who was arrested last week in Buenos Aires. Thirteen others remain at large. Among them is Alejandro Sinibaldi, who is also wanted in connection with taking large amounts of kickbacks from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for government contracts. Molina is currently in prison on charges of government corruption. He was ousted from the presidency in 2015.
It’s unclear when Ligorria will be extradited to Guatemala for further investigation.