June 8, 2017 / 4:15 AM / 2 years ago

Guatemala says U.S. requests extradition of ex-vice president

Guatemala's former Vice President Roxana Baldetti arrives to a hearing on new charges for illicit campaign finance, illegal association, passive bribery and money laundering, at the Supreme Court in Guatemala City, Guatemala, July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Saul Martinez

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - The United States has requested the extradition of former Guatemalan vice-president Roxana Baldetti to face prosecution for drug trafficking and other offences, the Guatemalan government said on Wednesday.

Baldetti is already in prison and on trial for charges including money laundering and illicit enrichment following her arrest in 2015 along with former President Otto Perez in one of the biggest corruption scandals in Guatemala’s history.

She and Perez have denied wrongdoing.

The foreign ministry gave notice of the extradition request on Twitter and Julia Barreda, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said Baldetti was wanted by U.S. prosecutors for criminal association and conspiracy to traffic drugs.

Barreda said the attorney general’s office would shortly initiate the process of registering the extradition request.

Gustavo Juarez, a lawyer for Baldetti, said he had not been notified of the matter and had no information.

In spite of the extradition request, Baldetti must first face justice in Guatemala before she can be put on trial in the United States, Barreda said.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Michael Perry

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