A Guatemalan court has acquitted former President Alfonso Portillo and two of his aides on corruption charges.

The former head of state and the two former officials were acquitted because the evidence and testimony about wrongdoing in the 2000-2004 Portillo administration were "without value," the divided court ruled.

The court issued an order Tuesday for the immediate release of the former head of state, erstwhile Defense Minister Eduardo Arevalo and finance chief Manuel Maza, though they are barred from leaving Guatemala until the appeals process is exhausted.

The ruling will be appealed immediately because the judges misinterpreted the evidence provided to the panel, Guatemalan Attorney General Claudia Paz y Paz told reporters.

I am "happy and satisfied" with the ruling issued by the court, which "acted according to the law," Portillo told the press.

The defense team "is ready to continue the fight" to prove complete innocence, Portillo said, adding that the ruling would affect the extradition request filed by the United States.

Portillo is the first former Guatemalan president to be tried for corruption.

The court rejected reports by government auditors and the testimony of former Credito Hipotecario Nacional chief Jose Llort.

Embezzled money was allegedly deposited in accounts at the mortgage bank belonging to officials, their families and friends.

Portillo is accused of stealing some $15 million in public money and faces extradition to the United States to face money laundering charges once his case in Guatemala is settled.