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Swiss Coffee Trader Arrested in Guatemala on Tax Charges

swiss coffee trader guatemala

A Swiss coffee trader is currently under house arrest in Guatemala following charges of tax fraud, according to numerous Swiss and Guatemalan media reports.

Neither Swiss nor Guatemalan authorities have named the arrested person, although Guatemalan news agency Prensa Libre reported on the arrest of 68-year-old Ulrich Gurtner Kappler on charges of tax fraud in June.

In a written statement, the Swiss department of foreign affairs (FDFA) told Daily Coffee News that it is in regular contact with Guatemalan authorities regarding the case and is “looking after the Swiss citizen” as part of its consular protection program. 

“We are unable to comment on the content of these contacts for reasons of data and privacy protection,” the agency told DCN. 

Kappler has served as the general director of the Guatemalan coffee cooperatives association Fedecocagua, which is composed of a network of large regional producer cooperatives.

Guatemalan authorities previously charged Kappler with money laundering in May of 2023.

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Fedecocagua did not immediately reply to DCN’s request for comment.

In a report from the Swiss news group Tamedia, a former Swiss ambassador to Guatemala suggested that the arrest and detainment were politically motivated and that the charges were fabricated.

DCN has reached out to numerous other authorities in Switzerland and Guatemala, and will update this story as new information comes in.

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