Guatemala congress commission: President should face trial

Associated Press

A five-member commission of Guatemalan legislators recommended Monday that President Jimmy Morales' immunity from prosecution be lifted so he can face possible trial on campaign-finance accusations.

Commission head Julio Ixcamey said the commission found evidence that unregistered money had been in campaign funds. But he also said Morales "did not have a direct participation in registering funds and contributions."

The recommendation for ending Morales' immunity will be decided by the full congress, where 105 of the 158 deputies would have to vote in favor.

Prosecutors allege that about $825,000 in financing for Morales' 2015 campaign was hidden and that other expenditures had no explainable source of funding.

Morales has denied any wrongdoing.

The investigation was conducted by Guatemalan prosecutors as well as Ivan Velasquez, the head of a U.N. anti-corruption commission that has been working in the Central American nation for a decade.

Two days after Velasquez and Guatemala's chief prosecutor asked that the president's immunity be lifted, Morales sought to expel the commission head from the country, but that order was swiftly overturned by the Constitutional Court.

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