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El Salvador ratifies indictment of former president for corruption

El Salvador’s Public Ministry confirmed on Friday the accusation against former President Mauricio Funes and five other people for appropriating almost 50 million dollars from the state coffers in the case of the construction of a hydroelectric press known as El Chaparral.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the alleged acts of corruption were carried out after the Italian company ASTALDI abandoned the work of the El Chaparral dam and this constituted sufficient reason for the contract to expire, they imposed fines and made the contractual finances effective. However, the Funes government apparently reached an illegal agreement that allowed the construction company to receive 108.5 million dollars for only 29.9% of the construction of the work.

The original contract established that the construction of the work would cost 219.9 million dollars.

Funes, his partner – Ada Mitchell – and three other people attributed the crimes of active bribery, money laundering and illegal groups.

Funes, Mitchell and two of their children are in Nicaragua, where in September 2016 they received political asylum from the government of President Daniel Ortega, while a civil trial for illicit enrichment was taking place and when an arrest warrant had not yet been issued against them. .

The Prosecutor’s Office presented 1,252 documents, 112 evidence and 34 expert reports that confirm the extra payment delivered by the CEL to the Italian company.

The investigations also detail how they acquire a front company called HEADFORD BUSINESS and a bank account is opened in the FPB BANK INC of Panama, which was used to receive the money that ASTALDI gave to Funes and Menéndez for the arrangement that benefited the Italian company.

“The Attorney General’s Office has been able to determine that there are almost 50 million dollars, what these people stole from the State, including embezzlement, money laundering,” said the Attorney General of the Republic, Raúl Melara, at a press conference. .

Melara acknowledged that it will be difficult for them to extradite former President Funes for having nationalized Nicaraguan. “The law prevents us from continuing with the process for him, but this does not prevent the trial from continuing for the other defendants who are being processed. In his case this will have to wait ”. He added that the ex-president would surely be watching the press conference “and he’s going to start tweeting like crazy saying that this is political persecution. Everything was led by Mauricio Funes ”.

Funes rejected the accusation and said on his official Twitter account that: “As president, it was not my responsibility to decide either the cancellation of ASTALDI’s contract, or the amount to pay. “Where is the proof that I gave the order or that I participated in the negotiations with ASTALDI to finalize the contract?”