UN backs anti-graft investigator in standoff with Guatemala

The U.N. secretary-general is rejecting a Guatemalan request to name a new head of a U.N. commission investigating corruption in the Central American nation.

Florencia Soto is a spokeswoman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. She says the agreement between Guatemala and the United Nations stipulates that Guterres gets to determine the head of the commission.

Soto said Wednesday that Guterres “does not see any reason to change his current position of support for Commissioner Ivan Velasquez.”

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced in recent weeks that he would not renew the mandate of the commission known as CICIG. He also refused to let Velasquez, a Colombian, return to the country from the U.S.

Guterres and CICIG have helped press a number of high-profile graft probes, including one pending against Morales himself.

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