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PRESS RELEASE 010

WITNESSES CONFIRM OPERATIONS TO MISAPPROPRIATE GTQ 120 MILLION FROM MDN

Guatemala, February 25, 2011. Two witnesses proposed by the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) confirmed that operations had taken place to misappropriate GTQ 120 million from the Ministry of National Defence (MDN) in 2001.

Gena Estuardo Contreras Salguero and Mynor Alberto Osorio Castillo appeared to testify before the Eleventh Trial Court in the trial of the former President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, the former Minister of Finance, Manuel Hiram Maza Castellanos, and the former Minister of Defense, Eduardo Arévalo Lacs. The trio are charged with misappropriating millions from the MDN.

Gena Estuardo Contreras Salguero testified that while working as an accountant at the Department of Finance of the Army, he issued cheques No. 50561 and 50561 for GTQ 72 million and GTQ 48 million, respectively, following orders of Juan José de León Pineda, head of the financial subdivision of the department.

The witness explained that León Pineda ordered the issuing of the two cheques, without justifying the expenditure, and that they were signed by Rosa Dolores Guisar, a clerk at the financial subdivision. He also said that the same method was used to issue the second cheque.

Transfer of GTQ 30 million
The second witness, Mynor Alberto Osorio Castillo, testified to the court that as the person responsible for deliveries at the vault of the National Mortgage Credit Bank (CHN), he received GTQ 30 million on March 5, 6 and 9, 2001. This amount was part of the GTQ 120 million misappropriated from the MDN, which was delivered to the former CHN President, José Armando Llort Quiteño.

He added that on each of the days GTQ 10 million in cash was received. The money was then counted using a special machine and divided into packets of GTQ 100,000. Subsequently, the money was deposited in personal accounts and accounts belonging to businesses linked to Llort Quiteño.

The witness said that the operations were coordinated by Salomón Abraham Molina Girón, assistant financial manager of CHN (a witness that confirmed via videoconference from New York that GTQ 30 million had been handed over). Furthermore, he said that the monetary deposits were made by Molina Girón and Rigoberto Alarcón Orellana.

He said that the final part of the funds was handed over at the office of Llort Quiteño, and Jacobo Salán Sánchez was also present at the time (the former head of security for Portillo). The millions were handed over in black plastic bags and still showed signs of residue from the seals of the Banco de Guatemala.

Witness statements

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  The Republic of Guatemala, a mountainous country that lies in the Central American isthmus, has an estimated population of 13 million people.
  Guatemala won its independence in 1821, following almost three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.
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