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Judge Orders Former Guatemala Vice President to Jail - 2004-07-28


A judge in Guatemala has ordered the jailing of the country's former vice president after prosecutors accused him of corruption. He is the highest ranking member of the former administration to be arrested on corruption charges.

A Guatemala city judge ordered former Vice President Juan Francisco Reyes Lopez to spend the next three months in jail while prosecutors prepare their case against him. The judge said he ordered Reyes Lopez to go to jail, because he believed he might flee the country.

Prosecutors have accused Reyes Lopez of committing acts of fraud and attempted graft at a government entity he oversaw as vice president.

Many members of former President Alfonso Portillo's administration are being investigated on corruption charges. Portillo and Reyes Lopez left office in January. Members of their party say the investigations are nothing more than a political witch hunt.

In jail, Mr. Reyes Lopez will join other members of the former administration, including two former ministers awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Former President Alfonso Portillo left the country within months of leaving office. He is being investigated both here and in the United states but has not been charged with any crimes.

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