Prosecutors in Guatemala have launched an investigation into the country’s President Alejandro Giammattei following allegations that he took bribes from Russian businessmen with interest in the mining industry.
Investigators, however, cannot interrogate the president until Congress impeaches him, according to local media reports.
The corruption allegation has been making headlines in the country ever since Special Prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval raised it in public earlier in June this year. Sandoval, who has been removed from office, has fled the country.
Sandoval was the chief of the Guatemalan Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI), established to tackle investigations as part of the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
Considering local media reports, four Russian businessmen paid a huge sum of money to the president, seeking a place to build a dock in the Caribbean port of Santo Thomas de Castilla.
Corruption allegations of this kind have long been plaguing the Central American country. One of the country’s former presidents, Otto Perez, was imprisoned after he was forced to resign over an allegation of corruption.
But Giammattei’s predecessor Jimmy Morales escaped prosecution in 2017 when Congress refused to impeach him even after the CICIG accused him of corruption.