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  • Former Vice President Roxana Baldetti and the former president of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina (R) with his lawyer during the hearing.

    Former Vice President Roxana Baldetti and the former president of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina (R) with his lawyer during the hearing. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 October 2017

A commission against impunity is investigating a network of bribes and customs fraud cases in Guatemala.

A judge has ruled that former president of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina and his vice president will face trial to determine their involvement in a customs fraud scheme that caused the state millions of dollars.

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Perez and Roxana Baldetti Elias have been in pretrial detention for more than two years, accused of leading a corruption network known as "La Linea," between 2012 and 2015, which stole from the state through bribes and commissions paid to the nation's customs authority.

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez was appointed to the case by the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, an institution that was established to investigate crimes perpetrated by government officials.

Current President Jimmy Morales was scrutinized for trying to interfere with its investigations after he attempted to expel the commission's head, Ivan Velasquez.

Perez and Baldetti have denied any wrong-doings and blame Velasquez and Attorney General Thelma Aldana for "inventing" a case against them without any evidence.

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Galvez alleged that the former president and Baldetti participated in customs fraud, illicit association and illicit enrichment receiving millions in return.

The network included officials, businessmen and former employees of several state companies, and the judge said even more people could be involved.

The case has 30 defendants, and from those, 28 will face trial, while two were released from prison, pending an investigation into their participation.

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