The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office announced new charges against the owner of the opposition newspaper El Periódico

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José Rubén Zamora will face a controversial trial in May for alleged money laundering

The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office announced new charges against the owner of the opposition newspaper El Periódico

The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office announced new charges against the owner of the opposition newspaper El Periódico. (AFP)

The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office announced on Thursday a second criminal case against the owner of the opposition newspaper El Periódico, José Rubén Zamora, who will face a controversial trial in May for alleged money laundering.

Zamora, imprisoned since last July, was accused in this new case of participating in a “possible conspiracy” to “obstruct” an investigation against him also for money laundering, indicated the prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche in a video released on his Twitter account.

Curruchiche, head of the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Impunity (FECI), indicated that Zamora and others involved “met [in 2021] to plan the diversion of the investigation” of possible money laundering in 2013 through the company Aldea Global, parent company of the newspaper.

However, it did not detail how the money got to the media outlet.

The “possible parties involved” they were “alarmed” after the dismissal in July 2021 of the then head of the FECI, Juan Francisco Sandoval, the entity in charge of the investigation, he said.

The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office announced new charges against the owner of the opposition newspaper El Periódico

Curruchiche, head of the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Impunity (FECI), indicated that Zamora and others involved “met [in 2021] to plan the diversion of the investigation” of a possible laundering in 2013 through the company Aldea Global, parent company of the newspaper.

In this case, this Tuesday Mario Castañeda, one of Zamora's lawyers, was arrested and the arrest of Roberto Montoya is pending. , also part of the journalist's defense team, Curruchiche said.

Zamora was summoned to testify for the new process on January 31 along with Flora Silva, < b>former financial director of the newspaper, who in December was sentenced to three years in prison commutable in an abbreviated process for accepting the charge of money laundering in the first accusation against the journalist.

According to that accusation, Zamora participated in a blackmail and money laundering scheme against businessmen in exchange for not publishing information against him for some $37,500. The start of the controversial trial was scheduled for May 2.

Zamora, 66, maintains that he is “politically persecuted” and that his case was fabricated by the president, Alejandro Giammattei, and the attorney general, Consuelo Porras, to silence him for postings about corruption.

In 2021, the United States included Porras on a list of those implicated in acts of corruption or undermine democracy after firing Sandoval, considered by Washington to be a “anti-corruption champion”.

The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office announced new charges against the owner of the opposition newspaper El Periódico

Zamora, 66, maintains that he is “politically persecuted” and that his The case was fabricated by the president, Alejandro Giammattei, and the attorney general, Consuelo Porras, to silence him for postings about corruption. (REUTERS)

Curruchiche was also included on the same list last year.

Zamora's arrest is considered by various sectors as an attack against freedom of expression and caused concern in the international community. His capture occurred after the arrest and prosecution of several former prosecutors who investigated corruption cases.

(With information from AFP)

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