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At the forum "Young and Committed", Commissioner Iván Velásquez called upon the youth to join forces in fighting impunity.

PRESS RELEASE 016

TESTIMONY AGAINST MILITARY OFFICIALS CHARGED WITH MISAPPROPRIATING MILLIONS

Guatemala, 28 May 2014. The witness José Armando Llort Quiteño (former manager of the National Mortgage Credit Bank [CHN]) confirmed, via videoconference from New York, that the retired military officials Jacobo Esdras Salán Sánchez and Napoleón Rojas Méndez transported GTQ 30 million to the CHN over 5, 6 and 9 of March 2001. The money was allegedly siphoned from the Ministry of National Defence (MDN). In this case, the two former military officials are charged with embezzlement and are being tried before the Second Trial Court.

Llort Quiteño said that former President Alfonso Portillo handed over GTQ 30 million over March 5, 6 and 9, 2001: "I received 30 million quetzales from President Portillo, which were delivered by Jacobo Salán Sánchez and Napoleón Rojas in batches of 10 million per day." He added that on the first day, the pair arrived at the CHN and that they had taken time to arrive because they had counted the money at the house of former President Portillo. Llort Quiteño admitted that he subsequently instructed Salomón Abraham Molina Girón to deposit the money in various accounts.

In his testimony, Llort Quiteño referred to the businesses where GTQ 30 million had been deposited: Confia S.A. and Jallcafé S.A., which he admitted to owning, along with other ghost companies that were created to conduct these types of illegal transaction. He also said that Luis Alberto Gómez Guillermo—who worked at the Department of Finance of the Ministry of Defence—told him that the money came from their portfolio and there would be no problems because it was a "secret account".

The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) has testimony, expert witness opinions, and material evidence against the two former military officials, including certificates of the audits of the documentation of the Ministry of National Defence (MDN), which were conducted in 2001, 2002 and 2003; the original cheques used to withdraw GTQ 120 million from the Banco de Guatemala; deposit slips of the 30 million deposited at the CHN; a CICIG report indicating the chronological order in which the facts took place and detailing the involvement of the two military officials.

Furthermore, the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) provided Army bank statements demonstrating the place, date and means used to siphon the millions; the work contracts of the military officials detailing their work relationship with former President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera; and testimony given as early evidence regarding the involvement of the accused in misappropriating millions from the MDN.

Background
Armando Llort Quiteño met the former President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera at the beginning of 1999. He financed his electoral campaign. After being his financier, Llort Quiteño was hired by Portillo to be President of the National Mortgage Credit Bank, without having knowledge of or experience in the field.

After the statement of Llort Quiteño, Salomón Abraham Molina Girón also testified via videoconference, confirming the information provided by Llort regarding the deposit of the 30 million. Furthermore, he gave extensive details of the manner in which Napoleón Rojas and Salán Sánchez arrived at the CHN vault with boxes in which they had transported the money, which he received and helped to count. The money was the GTQ 30 million.

The hearing will continue tomorrow at 9:00 am in the same chamber.


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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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