CONFLICTS

Guatemalan ex-president linked to new scandal

  • FILE - In this July 9, 2015, Gustavo Martinez, son-in-law of Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina, stands inside a court holding cell in Guatemala City. Martinez, who had served until April 2015, as the president's private secretary, was arrested based on investigations by the federal prosecutors' office and the U.N. International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala for alleged influence trafficking. Martinez was eventually freed, but then arrested again on April 15, 2016, for alleged involvement in irregularities also involving his father-in-law. (AP Photo/Luis Soto, File)

    FILE - In this July 9, 2015, Gustavo Martinez, son-in-law of Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina, stands inside a court holding cell in Guatemala City. Martinez, who had served until April 2015, as the president's private secretary, was arrested based on investigations by the federal prosecutors' office and the U.N. International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala for alleged influence trafficking. Martinez was eventually freed, but then arrested again on April 15, 2016, for alleged involvement in irregularities also involving his father-in-law. (AP Photo/Luis Soto, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2015 file photo, Guatemala's former President Otto Perez Molina, photographed through a window, sits in court for a third hearing on corruption allegations that led him to resign, in Guatemala City. While Molina is jailed on graft charges, a new corruption case was opened against him on April 15, 2016, in connection with the construction of a port in Puerto Quetzal. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2015 file photo, Guatemala's former President Otto Perez Molina, photographed through a window, sits in court for a third hearing on corruption allegations that led him to resign, in Guatemala City. While Molina is jailed on graft charges, a new corruption case was opened against him on April 15, 2016, in connection with the construction of a port in Puerto Quetzal. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)  (The Associated Press)

Former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and his then-vice president led a criminal structure that collected at least $30 million in bribes to award a contract to build a port terminal, the country's attorney general and an international anti-corruption commission announced Friday.

In exchange, Grupo TCQ Terminal de Contenedores Quetzal got to build the terminal at the Pacific coast location of Puerto Quetzal and hold a 25-year concession to operate it worth $225 million, authorities said. Perez Molina signed the contract with the Spanish firm in 2013 while he was president.

"Since Perez Molina was elected in November 2011, the paperwork for this project started quickly," said Attorney General Thelma Aldana. "A criminal group formed ... having Otto Perez Molina and Roxana Baldetti as this structure's leaders."

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez called for Perez Molina and former vice president Roxana Baldetti to appear on money laundering charges next week.

A son-in-law of Perez Molina was detained Friday for allegedly participating in the scheme, as well as Juan Jose Suarez, manager for the company TCQ.

Perez Molina is behind bars and faces charges of permitting and benefiting from a ring that defrauded the state of millions of dollars. Businesses allegedly paid kickbacks to officials in exchange for lower import duties.

Perez Molina has said he is innocent of the charges.