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Ex-Guatemalan president Portillo released from U.S. prison in bribery case

Guatemala's former President Alfonso Portillo in a Nov. 17, 2011 file photo.

Guatemala's former President Alfonso Portillo in a Nov. 17, 2011 file photo.  (ap)

A former Guatemalan president who was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for accepting $2.5 million in bribes was released Tuesday from a U.S. prison in Colorado, a Guatemalan Embassy official said.

Alfonso Portillo was released from a suburban Denver prison. Accompanied by the Guatemalan consul in Denver, Portillo was en route for a commercial flight that would take him first to Houston and then to Guatemala City, said Libna Bonilla, the embassy's deputy chief of mission.

Portillo was sentenced in federal court in New York last year to nearly six years in prison for accepting $2.5 million in bribes. Bonilla said he was credited with time served in Guatemala, where he faces no further charges.

"He is considered a free man in Guatemala," Bonilla said.

Portillo admitted accepting $2.5 million in bribes from the government of Taiwan to continue to recognize the Asian nation diplomatically.

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Portillo, 63, was Guatemala's president from 2000 to 2004. He was extradited to the United States in 2013 and pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in March 2014.

U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson also ordered Portillo to forfeit $2.5 million.

Bonilla said he was credited with time served in Guatemala before his extradition.

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