Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-7
Alfonso Portillo (United States)
Guatemala
President (2000-2004)
United States
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort, Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2009
Ongoing
Art.16, Art.23
Yes
Criminal Prosecution and Forfeiture
Unknown
Request for Extradition
Ongoing Case
Ongoing
Judgment by Court of First Instance
Consent Preliminary Order of Forfeiture
Ongoing
NA

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).

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)

Comision Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala)
Comision Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala), Special Prosecutor's Office
Tribunal Undecimo de Sentencia Penal (Eleventh Court of Criminal Judgment)
U.S. Internal Revenue Service, New York Field Office; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York