Latin America & Caribbean

Guatemala extradites ex-leader Alfonso Portillo to US

Former Guatemala President Alfonso Portillo
Image caption The former president told reporters the law had been violated in the case against him

Guatemala's former President Alfonso Portillo has been flown to the United States to face corruption charges.

Mr Portillo is accused of having used US banks to launder more than $70m (£46m) in public funds during his presidency, between 2000 and 2004.

He told local radio he was being unjustly "kidnapped" before boarding a plane to New York.

Mr Portillo had been fighting extradition since 2011 and says there is not enough evidence against him.

The former president also says he has health problems.

'Kidnap'

He had a liver operation in April and says he suffers from heart arrhythmia and water on the lung.

"See you soon, Guatemala," he told Radio Sonora.

He said his extradition violated Guatemalan law and he still had appeals pending.

A Guatemalan court cleared Mr Portillo of embezzlement charges in 2011, but he is still wanted by New York prosecutors.

Image caption Mr Portillo was flown to the US in a private jet, accompanied by the authorities

A federal grand jury in New York requested his extradition in January 2011.

Mr Portillo came to office on a promise to redistribute wealth, but critics say his administration was one of the most corrupt in the country's recent history.

Mr Portillo left Guatemala for Mexico shortly after completing his term in 2004.

But in 2008, he was extradited to Guatemala to stand trial on charges he stole $15m from the military in 2001.

He was cleared of those charges in May 2011 and a court confirmed that verdict this year.

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