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Guatemalan President’s Brother and Son Arrested on Suspicion of Fraud

LADB Article ID: 80219
Category/Department: Guatemala
Date: 2017-02-23
By: Louisa Reynolds

The brother and one of four sons of Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales, who won the 2015 elections after riding a wave of public indignation over a massive corruption scandal that forced his predecessor to step down, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a fraud case. President Morales’ brother, Samuel Morales, known as “Sammy,” is accused of involvement in a fraud operation that embezzled around US$400,000 from the Guatemalan Property Registry, a case known as “Botín Registro de la Propiedad” (Property Registry Booty). At least 20 other suspects are linked to the case, including the former director of the Property Registry, Anabella de León. The Morales family’s involvement in the case came to light in September, when the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN-funded commission created in 2006 to investigate corruption and organized crime, dismantled a huge corruption network within the Property Registry that had siphoned off thousands of dollars’ worth of taxpayers’ money by signing contracts for services that were never provided and hiring staff who never showed up to work.

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