Judge orders preventive detention against Rafael Correa for alleged bribes

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Leer en español: Jueza ordena prisión preventiva contra expresidente Correa por presuntos sobornos

Reuters | Alexandra Valencia

An Ecuadorian judge ordered Thursday preventive detention against former President Rafael Correa, in an investigation into the delivery of alleged illegal contributions of "State contractors" to the campaign of his political movement between 2012 and 2016 to secure infrastructure contracts.

This is the second case in which preventive detention is handed down to Correa, who has resided in Belgium since leaving office in 2017. The prosecutor's office has opened 11 files against the former president. The new investigation includes crimes of influence peddling, illicit association and bribery of some 22 former officials and businessmen.

"I order the preventive detention ... to ensure the appearance at trial," Judge Daniella Camacho said in reading her resolution against Correa and four former officials of his government.

The Prosecutor's Office accused the former plaintiff of leading an "illegal network" to raise funds from contractors of the State for some electoral campaigns of Alianza País and then award them infrastructure works contracts.

The judge also issued preventive detention against former vice president Jorge Glas, who is serving a six-year sentence for the Odebrecth bribe network in Latin America.

In addition, the judge requested that Interpol be notified to capture former officials who are outside the country, including Correa. 

Prosecutors said in their indictment that the investigation identified a deposit of US$ 6,000 that Correa would have received in his personal account at a local bank, but not specific where those funds came from.

Read also: Cristina Fernández returns to the center of the electoral scene in a bid against Macri

"I had a recurring overdraft, and I borrowed US$ 6,000 from the solidarity fund that we had in the Presidency (our same contributions) and paid it to the last penny (I have checks of $ 500 per month). Don't be ridiculous," Correa explained in hisTwitter account

Correa has denied the accusations and has said that it is all about a persecution of President Lenin Moreno, his political heir, who took distance since he came to power in May 2017.

In July 2018, the Ecuadorian justice issued an order of preventive detention against the ex-president for the case of an alleged kidnapping of an opposition politician and months later he was called to criminal trial, which could not be initiated because he is outside the country.

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