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Disclaimer: The corruption cases databases are a product of the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank. It is intended for general information purposes only. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in the Database do not necessarily reflect the views of the Executive Directors of The World Bank or the governments they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. Neither the World Bank Group nor its officers or employees shall be liable for any losses that may result directly or indirectly from the use of or reliance upon such information.

Alfonso Portillo (United States)

Jurisdiction of Origin : 
Position of Public Officials/Persons (Years in Office): 
President (2000-2004)
Jurisdiction of Recovery Effort / Asset Location: 
Jurisidction of Asset Recovery - Description: 
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort, Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
Recovery Start (Year): 
2009
Recovery End (Year): 
Ongoing
UNCAC Offenses Implicated: 
Money laundering Implicated?: 
Yes
Status of Asset Recovery : 
Ongoing
Asset Recovery Chain - Placement : 
Judgment by Court of First Instance
Assets Not Yet Returned/Judgment (USD) - Current : 
$2,500,000
Assets Not Yet Returned/Judgment (USD) - Current: 
Consent Preliminary Order of Forfeiture
Disposition of Criminal Case(s): 

According to the US court records, Mr. Portillo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; in June 2014, he was sentenced to 70 months' imprisonment. (Source: US v. Portillo, Case No. 1:09-cr-01142-RPP (S.D.N.Y.), Judgment in a Criminal Case, filed June 11, 2014)

Summary: 

As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Portillo admitted that while serving as President of Guatemala, he had received US$2.5 million from the government of China, Taiwan purportedly for the "Libraries for Peace" project but was in exchange for Guatemala's continued recognition of China, Taiwan's sovereignty.  (Source: US v. Portillo, Case No. 1:09-cr-01142-RPP (S.D.N.Y.), Judgment in a criminal case filed June 11, 2014 and US Government Sentencing Memorandum filed May 12, 2014.)   The 2009 indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York  alleged that the criminal proceeds had been laundered through a complex scheme involving close associates and family members and shell entities, involving banks in Florida and New York (as well those in England, France, Luxembourg, and Switzerland).  (Source: U.S. v. Portillo, Case No. 1:09-cr-01142-RPP (S.D.N.Y.), Indictment filed December 1, 2009 and unsealed on January 25, 2010.)  According to a US Department of State press briefing transcript of November 11, 2011, the US spokesman stated that "We understand that President Colom has upheld the Guatemalan Constitutional Court’s August 26 decision that authorized the extradition of former President Alfonso Portillo to the United States on charges of conspiracy to commit money-laundering."  (Source: US Department of State Daily Press Briefing transcript, " U.S. Extradition Request for Former President Alfonso Portillo," November 17, 2011, filed May 10, 2012 in US v. Portillo, 1:09-cr-01142 (SDNY), accessed via PACER.)  In May 2010, the US federal court for Southern District of New York denied Mr. Portillo's habeas petition which had challenged his custody in Guatemala based on the US extradition request.  (Source: US v. Portillo, Case No. 1:09-cr-01142 (SDNY), Opinion and Order filed May 10, 2012.) After the Indictment was unsealed, in 2010, Mr. Portillo was arrested in Guatemala, and detained pending his extradition to the United States.  In May 2013, he was extradited to the United States and remanded into custody.  (Source:  US v. Portillo, 1:09-cr-1142 (SDNY), Order of Remand May 28, 2013).

Contributing Factors in Asset Recovery: 
Ongoing Case
Agreement / Arrangement re: Returned Assets?: 
Ongoing
Agreement / Arrangment re: Returned Assets (Explanation): 
NA
Intl Cooperation Mechanism: MLAT/Letter of Request: 
Unknown
Basis for Intl Cooperation Mechanism: 
Request for Extradition
Investigating Agency (JO): 
Comision Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala)
ProsecAuth/Civil Atty (JO): 
Comision Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala), Special Prosecutor's Office
Courts Involved (JO): 
Tribunal Undecimo de Sentencia Penal (Eleventh Court of Criminal Judgment)
Investigative Agency (JAR): 
U.S. Internal Revenue Service, New York Field Office; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division
ProsecAuth/Civil Atty (JAR): 
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Courts Involved (JAR): 
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Sources : 

U.S. v. Portillo, Case No. 1:09-cr-01142-RPP (S.D.N.Y), Indictment filed December 1, 2009 and unsealed on January 25, 2010, and Status Report by U.S. Attorney dated January 25, 2010; Press Release by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Unseals Money Laundering Charge against Former President of Guatemala," January 25, 2010, accessed at http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/January10/portilloalfonsoi... US Department of State Daily Press Briefing transcript, " U.S. Extradition Request for Former President Alfonso Portillo," November 17, 2011, filed May 10, 2012 and Opinion and Order filed May 10, 2012, Order of Remand filed May 28, 2013, US Government Sentencing Memorandum filed May 12, 2014, and Judgment in a Criminal Case filed June 11, 2014, in US v. Portillo, Case No. 1:09-cr-01142 (SDNY), accessed via PACER.