Paraguay absolves ex-prez with Swiss bank account

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2009 8:04 PM

An appeals court in Paraguay has overturned the corruption conviction and prison sentence for a former president, drawing criticism from the current government.

Ex-President Luis Gonzalez Macchi had been sentenced to eight years in prison for stashing $370,000 in a secret Swiss bank account during his term.

But an appeals court overturned the verdict Thursday and said the government must pay for his legal defense because it took too long to impose a sentence.

Prosecutor Rene Fernandez complained Friday that Gonzalez Macchi is being freed on a technicality and said the judicial system is to blame.

In 2007, Gonzalez Macchi was acquitted of illegally transferring $16 million from Paraguay's Central Bank to a U.S. account.