GUATEMALA CITY – Jose Manuel and Samuel Morales, brother and son, respectively, of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, will be tried for alleged irregular adjudications resulting in state fraud.
The judge presiding over the case, Silvia de Leon, said on Friday night that both men, who have been under house arrest since February, be tried for fraud.
The judge also absolved the president’s brother over alleged money laundering.
Jose Manuel Morales Marroquin, 23, and Samuel Morales were arrested after a Guatemalan court charged them on Jan. 18 over their involvement in three irregular adjudications in the General Property Registry (RGP) for a value of around $26,000.
De Leon found enough evidence to open proceedings against both and told the president’s son that he has made some “big mistakes” in life.
According to the investigation, Jose Manuel and Samuel did not profit financially from the three irregular purchases, but did do an illicit favor to benefit Jose Manuel’s former father-in-law Mario Stuart Orellana Lopez, who is also facing trial for money laundering, and his wife Abdy Estrada de Orellana for tax fraud.
The three irregular purchases were discovered by the authorities during a major investigation which revealed that between January 2012 and May 2015, the signature of 16 anomalous labor contracts was authorized in the RGP, known as “phantom squares,” which received more than 3 million quetzals (about $400,000) as remuneration for work that was not carried out.