June 15, 2017 / 7:08 PM / 3 months ago

Ex-Guatemalan vice president says she will accept extradition to U.S.

FILE PHOTO: Guatemala's former Vice-President Roxana Baldetti arrives to a hearing at the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City, Guatemala, March 28, 2016, on charges of conspiracy, customs fraud and bribery charges. REUTERS/Josue Decavele

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti said on Thursday she is willing to face down criminal charges in the United States, a week after U.S. prosecutors sought her extradition for alleged drug trafficking and other offences.

“I‘m going to show my face in the United States, and am prepared to present myself to resolve my situation,” Baldetti told a hearing addressing the U.S. extradition request via video link.

At the hearing, Baldetti, who is already in prison in Guatemala, where she is being tried for crimes including money laundering and illicit enrichment, denied U.S. prosecutors’ charges of criminal association and conspiracy to traffic drugs.

She was arrested in 2015 along with former President Otto Perez in one of the biggest corruption scandals in Guatemala’s history. She and Perez have denied wrongdoing.

In spite of the extradition request, prosecutors in Guatemala said last week, Baldetti must first face justice in Guatemala before she can be put on trial in the United States.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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