April 14, 2018 / 2:08 AM / 7 months ago

Guatemala arrests thwarted by information leaks

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemalan prosecutors and the United Nations-backed Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) on Friday said they had suffered information leaks that thwarted three planned arrests in a corruption scandal investigation.

Since 2015, CICIG investigations have helped Guatemala send dozens of public officials and businesspeople to prison, including former President Otto Perez Molina and his Vice President Roxana Baldetti.

On Friday, police and prosecutors were ready to arrest seven people linked to a Social Security corruption scandal, but four were out of the country and three were alerted ahead of time with phone calls, the CICIG said.

This is the first time the group has suffered information leaks. The operations were coordinated between the Interior Ministry, prosecutors and CICIG investigators.

One person involved in the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Interior Ministry and police were the focus of a probe into the leaks.

One prosecutor said there is evidence that the information may have been leaked through an electronic system that holds the arrest warrants.

Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart said he had ordered an investigation into the incident.

(This version of the story corrects second paragraph to say that CICIG has helped send dozens to jail since 2015, not that since CICIG began working in the country in 2015, Guatemala has sent dozens to prison)

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Leslie Adler

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