former Guatemalan economy minister Acisclo Valladares Urruela

Ex-Economy Minister of Guatemala charged with drug money laundering

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A former Guatemalan economy minister Acisclo Valladares Urruela has been charged for laundering millions of drugs money by United States prosecutors. The 44 year old was economy minister in President Jimmy Morales government while he was in office for 2016-2020 period.

Valladares’ father, who is Guatemalan Ambassador to London rejected the charges and accusations, citing them as smear campaign by the drug cartels. Acisclo Valladares Molina, father of the charged minister, said that a drug trafficker is setting up his son in the charges, which is his revenge for the role of the ambassador in extradition of drug smugglers to the US in 1990s when he was Prosecutor-general of Guatemala.

Mr. Molina tweeted in Spanish, “All the extraditions of drug traffickers are based on the legal opinion I issued as Prosecutor-General of the nation (1994 – 1998). Sufficient reason for revenge.”

Mr. Urruela has been charged by South Florida federal prosecutors with “helping to launder close to $10 million of illegal drug proceeds and other ill-gotten money.” The prosecutors have alleged in their charges “during a four year conspiracy, Valladares Urruela enabled the illegal drug trade by creating a demand for untraceable cash, cash that Valladares Urruela used to bribe corrupt Guatemalan politicians.

The prosecutors have also established that Mr. Urruela had three co-conspirators – “a corrupt Guatemalan politician, a major drug trafficker and a crooked Guatemalan bank employee.” The names of these three people have however not been mentioned in the statement that was released by US Attorney’s Office of Southern District of Florida.

Prosecutors have charged that Mr. Urruela received the illegal cash from the politician and drug trafficker through the bank employee through a well established system. The statement released says, “the drug trafficker and corrupt politician were able to exchange their dirty cash for what appeared to be legitimate earnings, complete with paper trails.”

The statement further comprehends, “Valladares Urruela regularly received backpacks, duffel bags, and brief cases full of dirty, untraceable cash that he knew came from drug trafficking and corruption and used it to bribe Guatemalan politicians.” Statement further clarifies that unless proven otherwise by the court of law, Valladares Urruela will be presumed innocent.

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