Court issues arrest warrant for ex-Guatemalan president

The Guatemalan criminal court has issued an arrest warrant for the country’s ex-President Alfonso Antonio Portillo Cabrera, who faces extradition to the U.S. on charges of money laundering, local media said on Monday.

The Periodico newspaper said the warrant for Portillo, who had been Guatemalan president in 2000-2004, was issued following a request by a U.S. prosecutor’s office.

The U.S. accuses Portillo of laundering money through American banks. He is believed to have been embezzling money from the Guatemalan state budget during his presidency and is to face trial in the Latin American country before being extradited to the U.S.

According to the Latin American Herald Tribune online edition, the request was made two weeks ago, however, it had not been made public until now.

The paper said police and representatives of the U.N.-sponsored International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala raided on Sunday two homes, including Portillo’s residence in Guatemala’s eastern province of Zacapa, but their efforts to capture the former president yielded no results.

Portillo, who fled to Mexico soon after the end of his presidency in 2004, was extradited from the country in 2008 and brought to trial in Guatemala on charges of aiding embezzlement of budgetary funds. He received a prison term, but was soon released on bail.

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