GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan authorities have arrested a lawmaker and former president of Congress who is under investigation in connection with the sale of phantom jobs at the legislature.

Aristides Crespo Villegas was detained Tuesday while driving in Guatemala City, handcuffed by police and taken before a judge to be told the reason for his arrest.

Prosecutors say in a statement that Crespo is suspected of embezzlement, illegal appointments and abuse of authority.

He proclaimed his innocence.

Crespo is alleged to have authorized the hiring of more than 100 people at salaries between $1,300 and $2,000 a month who did not meet the requirements of the positions. In some cases it was determined that the purported employees never showed up at Congress and in fact worked for other government agencies.

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