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Ecuador Prosecutor Asks for Corruption Charges Against Former President

QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s attorney general said on Wednesday her office will ask for charges against former President Lenin Moreno and three dozen other people for alleged corruption surrounding the construction of the country’s largest hydroelectric plant between 2009 and 2018.

The investigation into potential corruption, which began in March 2019, now has the necessary documentation for prosecutors to ask the National Court of Justice to hold a hearing on bribery charges against Moreno and 36 other suspects, said Attorney General Diana Salazar.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach Moreno for comment, but he said on Twitter last year that he celebrated an expansion of the Coca Codo investigation because it would reveal lies invented against him to hide corruption.

Moreno has said the accusations against him were orchestrated by former President Rafael Correa, his erstwhile mentor and later enemy.

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Other individuals named by the prosecutor’s office also could not immediately be reached.

Moreno was Ecuador’s president between 2017 and 2021 and vice president between 2007 and 2013.

Moreno, who uses a wheelchair, has campaigned for the inclusion of those with disabilities since he left office and now appears to reside in Paraguay.

Moreno’s wife, one of his daughters, two of his brothers and two sisters-in-law are also among those allegedly connected to the case, Salazar said.

Former managers at Coca Codo and former legal representatives of China’s Sinohydro, which was in charge of building the plant, were also allegedly involved with corruption, Salazar said.

“The alleged bribery would amount to about $76 million, which would correspond to approximately 4% of the contract, which was initially worth almost $1.979 billion,” Salazar explained.

The final cost of the work exceeded $2.2 billion, the prosecutor said, adding the alleged bribes would have been delivered by Sinohydro and channeled through third parties.

China has not responded to a request for assistance in the case, Salazar said.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, Writing by Isabel Woodforde; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters,


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