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Guatemala president quits amid graft scandal

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Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has stepped down shortly after an arrest warrant was issued for him amid a corruption scandal that has rattled his government.

The embattled leader decided to resign from presidency in order to confront “individually the proceedings against him,” his spokesman Jorge Ortega said on Thursday.

Perez Molina’s resignation came hours after an arrest warrant was issued for him by a judge as a preliminary probe is underway into corruption allegations against his administration.

Under the order, Perez Molina would have to appear before Judge Miguel Angel Galvea on charges of illicit association, fraud and receiving bribe money.

On Tuesday, the Congress, which is Guatemala’s legislature, lifted his immunity, paving the way for the president to be prosecuted over allegations of being behind a massive corruption scheme, in which business people reportedly paid bribes to avoid import duties through the customs agency.

Perez Molina, 64, has rejected the allegations and vowed to face the legal process. No formal charges have been filed against him yet.

This is the first time in the country’s history that a sitting president faces legal prosecution.

Business leaders, Guatemala’s National Council of Bishops and even the government comptrollers’ office had all urged Perez Molina to step down.


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