GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A judge ordered Guatemala's former vice president to remain in jail Wednesday while she stands trial on charges of conspiracy, customs fraud and bribery, based on allegations that she accepted $3.7 million in bribes as part of the scandal that forced her from office.

Judge Miguel Angel Galvez ruled that former Vice President Roxana Baldetti would not be allowed bail because she held an Italian passport and was considered a flight risk.

On Monday, he ordered her to stand trial on charges of receiving bribes from businessmen to evade import duties. She denies any wrongdoing.

Leaving the court Wednesday, Baldetti said she had no problem going to a regular jail.

"It does not matter. I am willing to have rule of law in Guatemala," she said. Her lawyer, Carlos Vazquez, said the court was putting her in danger and would be responsible if anything happened to her.

Responding to reporters' questions, Baldetti said she did not feel betrayed by anyone and would not implicate anyone else, including President Otto Perez Molina.

"I don't have more information. I will not talk about him," she said.

Perez Molina has come under increasing pressure in the case that has pushed the country into political crisis. About two dozen highway blockades were set up around the country by protesters demanding the president's resignation and that the Sept. 6 vote for his successor be postponed.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Congress has the power to remove Perez Molina's immunity from prosecution as a sitting president.

Analysts said the actions provide hope that a strong attorney general backed by an experienced international investigative commission can tackle corruption in the impoverished country.

"It's very exciting in some ways for those who forever have been deeply concerned about corruption and the elite political class that pillages the state," said Eric Olson, a Central America expert at the Washington-based Mexico Institute. "They got their hands caught in the cookie jar this time, and it's pretty bad."

Prosecutors and the U.N. International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala requested the removal of the president's immunity based on allegations that he too is linked to the network of officials and individuals who received bribes from businessmen to evade import duties.

The U.N. commission was set up in recent years to probe criminal networks because Guatemala's judicial system was seen as too weak and graft-prone to handle major investigations. It has since helped expose high-level corruption, fueling popular outrage and street protests that have put unprecedented pressure on Guatemala's political elite.

According to the commission, there are strong indications that the president was tied to the criminal ring known as "La Linea," or "The Line," the fraud operation allegedly led by Baldetti's aide, Juan Carlos Monzon Rojas, who is currently a fugitive.

Since Friday, five of Perez Molina's 13 cabinet ministers have resigned, as well as eight vice-ministers, two secretaries and other government officials, amid demands that Perez Molina quit. He has vowed to stay on.

"He's in a very weak position, not only because of the scandal but for the resignation of his ministers," said Gavin Strong, an analyst for Control Risks risk-management firm. "He knows it's going to be very difficult to fight the accusations. He's going to have to think about how he's going to stay out of jail."

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Baldetti was one of the main benefactors of the ring, in part based on some 88,000 wiretaps and documents revealing how the money was divided.

Her defense attorney, Mario Cano, called the charges political and said none of the wiretaps carried her voice.


Associated Press writers Alvaro Montenegro in Guatemala City and Alberto Arce in Mexico City contributed to this report.