PRESS RELEASE 092
COURT ADDS COUNT OF MONEY LAUNDERING TO LAINFIESTA CAJAS
Guatemala, November 29, 2012. The Tenth Court of the First Criminal Instance ordered that Juan Diego Lainfiesta Cajas be remanded in custody and added a count of money laundering to the charges. Lainfiesta Cajas was linked to proceedings in 2010 for conspiracy to commit fraud. Lainfiesta Cajas is accused of profiting from a contract worth millions that was allocated to the refurbishment of the Fraijanes II Prison.
Judge Walter Villatoro found sufficient evidence to additionally charge Lainfiesta Cajas with money laundering, and thus ordered that he be held at Matamoros barracks until the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) presents the conclusions of its investigation.
On Monday, Lainfiesta Cajas was extradited from Costa Rica where he had been arrested for the purpose of extradition by Costa Rican authorities, with the support of INTERPOL. The accused absconded from Guatemalan justice authorities for eight months.
The Fraijanes II proceedings were initiated in 2010 in response to an agreement forged between Salvador Gándara, a former interior minister, and Fundtech, an NGO. The NGO also hired the services of a business linked to the Lainfiesta group. At a later stage, the contract was renewed and expanded by Raúl Velázquez Ramos, formerly the interior minister. The Office of the Comptroller General revealed that there had been irregularities in the hiring processes, the execution of the project and in the conduct of Fundtech and then officials of the Ministry of the Interior.
The investigation established that the company hired by Juan Diego Lainfiesta Cajas and his cousin, Rodrigo Lainfiesta Rímola (released on bail), was used as a facade. Both parties are accused of profiting from a GTQ17.4 million contract allocated to the refurbishment of the Fraijanes II Prison.
Under this case, former minister Gándara Gaitán is being tried (currently released on bail) on charges of extortion, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion. Former minister Velázquez Ramos is being tried on charges of abuse of authority and non-compliance of duties.
CICIG acts as a complementary prosecutor in this criminal proceeding.