Former Guatemalan leader pleads guilty in U.S. court

NEW YORK Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:09pm EDT

1 of 3. Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo appears in court in New York in this March 18, 2014 court sketch. Portillo pleaded guilty to a charge of money-laundering conspiracy.

Credit: Reuters/Jane Rosenberg

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo pleaded guilty to a charge of money-laundering conspiracy in a federal court in New York on Tuesday.

"I'm guilty, your honor," he said through a translator.

U.S. prosecutors had accused Portillo of laundering tens of millions of dollars that they said he embezzled from the Guatemalan government. Portillo was president of Guatemala from 2000 to 2004.

A Guatemalan court cleared him of embezzlement charges in May 2011, but the country's Supreme Court later endorsed an extradition request from the United States.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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