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Guatemala President Perez behind bars amid corruption probe

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By Euronews
Guatemala President Perez behind bars amid corruption probe

Guatemala’s former leader Otto Perez is to remain in jail over his alleged role in a bribery scandal that has plunged the country into political crisis just days before a presidential election.

Amid hearings in the case, a judge ordered the ongoing detention of Perez, who was elected in 2011 pledging to fight crime and corruption.

He appeared in court as an ex-president, having resigned after Congress stripped him of immunity from prosecution.

Vice President Alejandro Maldonado has been sworn in to replace him.

The corruption scandal, in which bribes are said to have been paid by firms seeking to avoid customs duties, has claimed the scalp of the previous Vice President Roxana Baldetti.

Also in jail, she, like ex-President Perez, denies any wrongdoing.

Celebrations over his resignation erupted in the capital on Thursday. In recent weeks tens of thousands of protesters have flooded the streets to demand he step down.