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In Guatemala, The President’s Son & Brother are off the hook

August 20
18:39 2019

In Guatemala, The President’s Son & Brother are off the hook

A Guatemalan court on Monday acquitted members of the family of outgoing President Jimmy Morales, his son Jose Manuel and his brother, Sam Morales. The development comes after an anti-corruption commission accused the men of wrong-doing. Samuel “Sammy” Morales, the president’s older brother and political adviser, had been on trial on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. His son, Jose Manuel Morales was facing fraud charges also.

In January 2017, the Attorney General’s office and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) accused both men of defrauding the land registry of $12,000 and of using using false invoices.

The case rested on a claim for expenses incurred from providing 564 catered $200 a plate meals for Christmas, but the meals were never served.

Sammy Morales, who faced up to 11 years in prison, said he helped to obtain the invoice for meals as a favor to his nephew, but denied that it was a fraudulent claim. Jose Manuel, the President’s son, faced a jail term of up to 8 years if the case had ended in a conviction.

Later in 2017, the CICIG tried to impeach Jimmy Morales himself before he became President for alleged campaign finance irregularities.

Unlike his imprisoned predecessor, Otto Perez, who was brought down by a separate CICIG corruption probe in 2015, the president survived a vote in Congress which threatened to strip him of immunity. Morales’ term as President will end in January, 2020 when a new President Alejandro Giamatell, takes over.

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