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GUATEMALA - Fugitive former president captured

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Police captured fugitive former President Alfonso Portillo in northern Guatemala yesterday, a day after United States prosecutors indicted him on charges of laundering money stolen from foreign donations meant to buy children's books.

Dozens of agents raided a ranch in the province of Izabal to execute the arrest, Attorney General Amilcar Velasquez said.


An indictment unsealed Monday in federal court in New York alleges that in a four-year scheme starting in 2000, Portillo embezzled $1.5 million in donations from Taiwan, intended to buy school library books.

It accused Portillo of endorsing checks drawn from a New York bank and depositing them in a Miami account; the money then was transferred to a Paris account in the name of his ex-wife and daughter.