Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Prosecutor seeks jail for Ecuador former president Correa in corruption case

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Ecuador’s attorney general Diana Salazar Thursday called for a seven-year jail term for former president Rafael Correa who is on trial in absentia for corruption connected to his 2013 election campaign.

Correa, 56, is accused of accepting funds from private businesses for his campaign in return for state contracts.

Salazar asked the court to impose “the maximum penalty envisaged for the offense of corruption and considered as aggravating, for Rafael C., as an indirect perpetrator, and for other officials and businessmen, as direct perpetrators,” the prosecution said on Twitter.

Correa, who lives in exile in Belgium, and 19 other defendants, including former vice president Jorge Glas, face between five and seven years in prison if they are found guilty.

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Glas is already serving a six-year sentence for receiving bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

All are accused of corruption for having received about $7 million from companies in exchange for state contracts, according to the prosecution.

“A structure was created to receive bribes in exchange for contracts. It has been determined that former president Rafael Correa Delgado was at the top of the structure,” the attorney general told reporters.

Salazar said she was also requesting a total of $1 billion in reparations for the state.

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A conviction would spell the end of Correa’s political career as the Ecuadoran constitution bars those convicted of fraud, corruption or illegal enrichment from standing for election.

Correa was implicated in the case by a $6,000 payment made to his private account.

The leftist former leader says it was a personal loan.

Correa, who has lived in Belgium with his family since he left office in 2017, is considered a fugitive by the Ecuadoran courts, which have issued arrest warrants in two cases.

Correa, who was president from 2007 to 2017, is also involved in another court case in which he is accused of involvement in the kidnapping of an opposition lawmaker in 2012.

However under Ecuadoran law he cannot be tried in absentia on this charge.

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