Mexico: former Guatemalan president posts bond to avoid detention

Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo posted bond in Mexico to avoid being detained on an extradition request from Guatemala, where he is sought on corruption charges, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Portillo fled to Mexico and took up residence there shortly after his four-year term ended in January 2004.

Guatemalan prosecutors accuse him of authorizing money transfers to the Defense Ministry, where officials close to the former president allegedly pocketed most of the cash. Portillo has denied any wrongdoing.

Several days ago the former president filed an appeal of Guatemala's extradition order as allowed under Mexican law, Guatemalan Attorney General Juan Luis Florido said.

"The judge agreed to hear the appeal, and suspended any arrest warrant in exchange for the posting of a bond" of 1 million Mexican pesos, about a US$93,500 (Ђ80,000), Florido said. He said he was given the information by Mexican prosecutors.

Mexico's Attorney General's Office confirmed that a judge had granted Portillo a "provisional suspension" of his detention on Tuesday. Under the judge's order, Portillo must sign in at the courthouse every Monday, officials said.

Florido said detention orders had been pending against Portillo, and that Mexican prosecutors said they were searching for him. The appeal will delay any extradition.

Earlier this month, Mexico fired six immigration officials for negligence after they failed to notify superiors that former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori briefly stopped in the border city of Tijuana on his way to Chile.

The inaction prevented Interpol from detaining Fujimori, wanted in Peru on charges ranging from alleged corruption and abuse of power to sanctioning a paramilitary death squad, reported AP. P.T.

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