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Bolivia prosecutors drop key charge against president's ex

AFP  |  La Paz 

Bolivian prosecutors has said they have dropped influence-peddling charges against President Evo Morales's jailed ex-girlfriend, who is at the center of a steamy case involving allegations of corruption and a hidden love child.

Gabriela Zapata, a former manager at a Chinese engineering group, was accused of using her influence with the president to win USD 560 million in government contracts.

Prosecutors are still seeking a 12-year prison sentence for Zapata on money laundering charges, said state prosecutor Ramiro Guerrero yesterday. She is also accused of conspiracy and forgery.

The case exploded into the headlines in February, just as Bolivia headed into a referendum on whether to allow Morales to run for a fourth term.

The leftist leader, who has been in power since 2006, went on to lose the vote.

The scandal took a bizarre twist when Morales and Zapata got into a salacious dispute over a child he allegedly fathered with her.

He said the boy had died, while she insisted he was still alive.

She ultimately changed her story in June, saying the baby had died in 2009.

Five people have been arrested for allegedly coaching a different boy to pose as the president's son.

Zapata began dating Morales in 2005, when she was 18 years old. Morales, 56, said it ended two years later.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 19 2016. 04:42 IST