Guatemala prosecutor says threat linked to graft prosecution

AP News
Posted: Jul 19, 2016 9:32 PM
Guatemala prosecutor says threat linked to graft prosecution

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala's chief prosecutor said Tuesday she believes a recent threat against her is a reaction by organized crime to her work dismantling corruption networks that has put a former president and vice president behind bars while awaiting trial.

Thelma Aldana said she had "no doubt" that the threat was a "response from organized crime."

She singled out the case known as "the Line," which is an alleged fraud network involving bribes at the state customs agency. Former President Otto Perez Molina and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, are among those facing charges in the case. Both have denied wrongdoing.

Aldana said in an interview with The Associated Press that she intends to continue pursuing her prosecutions. But she acknowledged the risks and challenges involved in a country where corruption went all the way to the top.

"This is a process that is so fragile that it could easily fall apart, easily be reversed," she said. "I'm referring to the fragility of the fight against corruption in this country, because they are structures that have been encrusted in the government for years."

She said there are several theories about who is behind the threat against her.

One line of investigation involves information that a group of hit men from Honduras and Guatemala had been hired to carry out an attack on her. Interior Minister Francisco Rivas said last week that the plot appeared to come from "the Line," the network of officials involved in bribery and corruption Aldana helped prosecute.

Apart from Perez Molina and Baldetti, at least 100 other people are under investigation.