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El Salvador prosecutors order arrest of ex-president Funes

AP  |  San Salvador 

Prosecutors in have ordered the arrests of former and 30 members of his inner circle on a range of corruption charges for allegedly syphoning USD 351 million from public coffers, the announced today.

The 31 arrest orders include Funes' private secretary, his long-time partner Ada Mitchelle Guzman Siguenza, his ex-wife and two of Funes' sons.

"In the government of there were serious and outrageous cases of corruption in which they extracted USD 351 million from public accounts," said Salvadoran

immediately mounted a defence via Twitter, taking on charges one by one and asking "where was the crime?" and "what does that have to do with me?" "It stands out that the (Attorney General's Office) has only made incriminations without presenting a single piece of evidence against me," Funes wrote.

Melendez said that Funes stole USD 292 million from El Salvador's mortgage bank, including millions carried out as cash in plastic garbage bags.

Jorge Cortez, of the Attorney General's financial investigation unit, said that Funes' partner, used some of the diverted funds for in

Funes held office from 2009 to 2014 as for the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, and has been living in exile in since 2016. He has alleged that the government of is trying to settle political scores in pursuing him.

Melendez said prosecutors had alerted that Funes was "a person of interest" and the government would seek his extradition from

Melendez declined to respond to Funes' assertions that the moves against him were a political vendetta.

"Former president Funes is a suspect, accused of corruption crimes, a fugitive from justice," he said.

"Everything proven with technical, witness and other evidence." Authorities said they captured Miguel Menendez, a coffee empresario and former president of the Prosecutors allege he was one of the principle organizers of the diversion of funds.

"It is a sophisticated structure that was created by Mr. Funes and Mr. Menendez, alias Mecafe, to extract public funds from the government and later distribute them to key people, front men and shell companies," Melendez said.

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

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 04:41 IST