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Guatemala ex-President Alfonso Portillo freed from US jail


FORMER Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo has been released from prison in the US, after serving a sentence for taking in bribes from Taiwan.

At his trial last year he pleaded guilty to attempting to launder $2.5m (£1.6m) in US banks.

Portillo said he had taken the money in exchange for a promise that Guatemala would continue to recognise Taiwan.

He was in office between 2000 and 2004. After his release he flew to Guatemala where he still enjoys support.

Alfonso Portillo, now 63, was arrested in 2010 on embezzlement charges.

He was extradited to the US in 2013 and sentenced a year later by a New York judge.

Federal prosecutors accused him of using US financial institutions to launder money.

He was ordered to return the $2.5m he received illegally from Taiwan and was sent to a minimum-security prison in Denver, Colorado.

Taiwan has significant financial ties to a number of Central American and Caribbean countries that reject China’s claims to sovereignty of the island.

Former Salvadorean President Francisco Flores is facing similar allegations in his home country.

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