Former Guatemala Vice President Roxana Baldetti was jailed for 15 years this week for her involvement in an $18 Million USD fraudulent state contract with an Israeli water technology company. A Guatemalan court also sentenced Baldetti’s brother Mario to 13 years and businessman Uri Roitman to 11 years in prison for their roles in the scandal which became known as the “Magic Water” case.
Baldetti and 12 other people had been accused of conspiring to grant an $18 Million USD contract to Israel-based M. Tarcic Engineering Ltd. to provide 93,000 liters of a special decontaminant to clean up Lake Amatitian, close to Guatemala City but investigators determined the company used a substance that was merely water, salt and chlorine.
The secret formula not only failed to improve the lake, which had become polluted by large quantities of untreated sewage and industrial effluent, but allegedly made it worse.
Baldetti, Guatemala’s first female Vice President, resigned in May 2015, after a United Nations anti-corruption probe led to multiple arrests for involvement in an import bribery scheme.