Latin American media mogul linked to corruption network

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The wife of Mexican media magnate Ángel Remigio González González (a.k.a. The Phantom), tops a list of 42 people sought internationally by police in connection with the illegal financing of Guatemala’s Patriot Party (PP), led by the country’s former President, Otto Pérez Molina.

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The corruption case was opened by Thema Aldana, Attorney General of Guatemala, and Iván Velázquez, head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG for the Spanish acronym). The investigation links two of González’s media companies, Radiotelevisión de Guatemala (channel 3) and Televisiete (channel 7), with a web of illegal financing which provided 17,679,000 Guatemalan Quetzales for the PP campaign in 2011.

In return, The Phantom’s companies received 216,267,000 Quetzales in advertising, as revealed by the Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre. This corruption case against Otto Pérez Molina also involves his running mate, Roxana Baldetti, who has been linked to three similar cases since 2015.

Otto Pérez Molina, former president of Guatemala.

Otto Pérez Molina, former president of Guatemala.

However, this is the first time that the Guatemalan justice system has connected Ángel González to any wrongdoing. The powerful media tycoon, who owns 45 television stations, 68 radio stations and 65 cinema screens throughout Latin America, has also been linked to the Panama Papers for his offshore companies.

As reported by Fundamedios, 17 media companies in Ecuador are linked to González, including the television channel RTS and the El Comercio Group. With this media network, The Phantom owns the country’s largest private monopoly, holding licenses to 87 radio and television frequencies, 66 repeaters and 19 matrices, plus two digital television stations. González’s monopoly exists despite being prohibited by the Ecuadorian Constitution.

According to the newspaper Prensa Libre, the recent corruption accusation reveals the ‘dark marriage’ that has existed between presidents and politicians in Guatemala and Ángel Remigio González González. From his Miami mansion, the latter hands out favors and money in exchange for publicity and power in his television stations. “They visited him in Miami to ask for favors in exchange for advertising. In addition to Pérez Molina and Baldetti, González was also visited by Vinicio Cerezo, Jorge Serrano, Alfonso Portillo, Álvaro Arzú, Álvaro Colom and Sandra Torres. All of them were accompanied by entourages of other politicians who are still active, such as Mario Tarracena,” reported the newspaper.

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