Guatemalan planned his own murder, probe finds
Guatemala City, Jan 12, 2010 (EFE via COMTEX) --
The Spanish jurist who chairs
Guatemala's International Commission Against Impunity said Tuesday
that prominent attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg planned his own murder.
The May 10, 2009, crime ignited a political scandal in the
Central American country, as Rosenberg pointed the finger at
President Alvaro Colom in a posthumously released video, but Carlos
Castresana told a press conference in Guatemala City that the
evidence shows the lawyer "decided to put an end to his life."
"In the investigations we have conducted up to now, we have found
no indication of the participation of the president" in the murder,
the Spaniard said.
Based on an analysis of cell phone calls, Castresana said,
investigators concluded that Rosenberg asked his cousins,
businessmen Francisco and Jose Valdes Paiz, to arrange a contract
killing without telling them the identity of the intended victim.
The Valdes brothers in turn instructed one of their bodyguards,
Nelson Wilfredo Santos Estrada, to recruit gunmen to carry out the
deed, the jurist said.
Gunmen arrested in September in connection with the crime said
they were paid more than $6,000 to kill Rosenberg, who was fatally
shot while riding his bicycle in an affluent area of Guatemala City.
Rosenberg's slaying became a political scandal with the
appearance days after the murder of a videotape in which the
attorney said he feared that President Colom was planning to kill
The attorney said his life was at risk because he had evidence of
the involvement of the president and his associates in the April 14
slayings of businessman Khalil Musa and his daughter, Marjorie.
Musa, appointed by Colom to the board of the public-private
Banrural development bank, was killed for refusing to cover up
"illegal, multi-million-dollar transactions being carried out day
after day" at the financial institution, Rosenberg said.
Amid a pervasive lack of confidence in the police, the Commission
Against Impunity took charge of the investigation.
Rosenberg's murder and the ensuing uproar divided Guatemalans
largely along class lines, as the wealthy elite demanded that Colom
step down and the country's poor majority stood behind the head of
state, who stoutly maintained his innocence.
Eleven people, some of them police officers, are in custody in
connection with Rosenberg's murder. The Valdes brothers and Santos
remain at large and are rumored to have fled Guatemala. EFE
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