A U.S. court has sentenced Guatemalan ex-President Alfonso Portillo to five years and ten months in jail for money laundering. Portillo took bribes from Taiwan in exchange for the promise that Guatemala would maintain diplomatic relations with the country once he left office.
The U.S. extradited Portillo, who was President of Guatemala from 2000 to 2004, last year.
Portillo plead guilty to money laundering. The court ordered that, in addition to severing his jail sentence, Portillo has to pay back 2.5 million dollars that he took in bribes, in addition to paying a $500,000 fine.
The U.S. District judge who delivered the sentence, Robert Patterson, believes that the ruling could have far reaching ramifications. The case “will have an impact on how we will treat the violation of laws against corruption in this country,” he explained.
Portillo plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in laundering and also agreed not to appeal against any prison sentence between four and six years.
Out of all the funds laundered, Portillo deposited $1.5 million of the laundered money into accounts that he, his wife and daughter had in Spain's BBVA bank. Part of that money was also laundered through banks in Switzerland, Luxembourg, and other places.