Sunday, April 18, 2021

Guatemala seeks arrest of ex-minister linked to a $16m cash discovery

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Guatemalan prosecutors are seeking the arrest of the former communications minister for ex-President Jimmy Morales on money laundering charges after finding a connection to a house in which authorities found about $16 million in various currencies last week.

The Special Prosecutor Against Impunity searched four properties Tuesday looking for José Luis Benito Ruiz without success.

The money was found during an Oct. 14 search of a house in the colonial city of Antigua. It was inside 22 suitcases. The house was otherwise empty, but had a video surveillance system. On Tuesday, prosecutors said in a statement that Benito Ruiz had been renting the house, an arrangement that began one month after he left office in January 2020.

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Benito Ruiz is a businessman with a number of ventures, including breeding horses. He was one of Morales’ closest advisers.

This is the second time prosecutors have sought Benito Ruiz’s arrest. The first time, a judge denied their request for an arrest warrant in a case of a shoddy highway construction project.

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