‘Magic Water’ Sends This Former Latin America Official To Jail

Former Guatemalan vice-president (2012-2015) Roxana Baldetti (C) is pictured after being sentenced to a 15 years and six months prison term, for illicit association, influence peddling and fraud, during a hearing at the court in Guatemala City on October 9, 2018 (Photo credit: JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 12, 2018: A scandal known simply as ‘Magic Water’ has sent the former vice-president in a Latin American nation to jail for 15 years and six months.

Guatemala ex-VP, Roxana Baldetti, was jailed for her role in what became known as the “Magic Water” scandal. Prosecutors said that she embezzled millions from a state fund set up to decontaminate a lake.

Baldetti was deemed the mastermind of the scheme devised to defraud the Guatemalan state. She agreed to pay almost $18m (£13.7m) to an Israeli company to clean up the Amatitlán Lake.

The deal was negotiated by her brother, Mario, who held no official post. He was sentenced to 13 years in jail. Several Guatemalan officials and the Israeli businessman, Uri Roitman, were also sentenced to jail.

The chemicals used in the decontaminations scheme turned out to be mostly water and salt – leading the scandal to be dubbed “Magic Water.”

Baldetti was forced to stand down in 2015 after huge anti-corruption protests. Guatemalan media have hailed the verdict as historic, in a region where the rich and the powerful have traditionally enjoyed impunity.

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