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Attorney General asks judge to set trial date for Correa and others in ‘2012-2016 bribes’ case

Ecuador Attorney General Diana Salazar has asked national court judge Daniella Camacho to set a trial date for former president Rafael Correa and 25 others in the so-called “Sobornos “2012-2016” (Bribes 2012-2016) case.

Attorney General Diana Salazar

The discovery phase of the government’s prosecution concluded last week with the testimony of a former Odebrecht construction company official and a former Correa aid. Salazar is seeking convictions on bribery, influence peddling and illegal association charges of former government officials and business officials who alleged paid bribes to Correa’s Alliance Pais party to finance campaigns as well as other political activities.

In last week’s hearings, José Conceição dos Santos, Odebrecht’s former chief of operations in Ecuador, admitted paying millions of dollars in bribes to Alliance Pais, corroborating earlier testimony by Correa aid and confidant Pamela Martínez. Dos Santos said he made a $2.6 million payment to Correa’s 2013 presidential campaign and another $2.5 million for Alliance Pais candidates in the 2014 regional election. Both payments were made directly to Martínez, according to dos Santos.

Prosecutors say that the Odebrecht central office in Brazil has confirmed dos Santos’ payments and the fact they were intended as political favors.

José Conceição dos Santos

In addition to payments to Martínez, dos Santos said he made cash payments to former government officials and Alliance Pais members Walter Solís, Viviana Bonilla, Alexis Mera and others, as well as one of $6,000 to Correa.

Dos Santos is currently serving a prison sentence in Brazil for his role in the Odebrecht scandal.

In a separate case, Salazar said Monday that her office is expanding its investigation into 40 Odebrecht contracts with the Correa administration and that criminal charges are likely forthcoming. The contracts are for work on such major projects as the Pacific Refinery, the Manduriacu and Esperanza hydro plants and the Daule-Vinces petroleum transfer station.

According to the United States Department of Justice, Odebrecht paid $788 million in bribes for more than 100 public construction projects in 11 Latin American and African countries, from 2000 to 2016.

16 thoughts on “Attorney General asks judge to set trial date for Correa and others in ‘2012-2016 bribes’ case

  1. The leaked Odebrecht emails published in several newspapers indicate that Odebrecht diverted millions of dollars on the Ruta Viva and Quito Metro projects, yet the AG isn’t including either in her investigations. Meanwhile, she’s going forward on prosecutions based solely on the testimony of a confessed criminal and a notebook that the author admitted in court was written on a 40-minute plane ride in 2018 (4 years after the alleged events, yet she was able to remember hundreds of payments right down to the penny). It’s the same old playbook they used in Brazil and in Argentina and they’ll keep getting away with it as long as the media refuses to question anything.

    1. Funny comment, in light of that last little paragraph: “According to the United States Department of Justice, Odebrecht paid $788 million in bribes for more than 100 public construction projects in 11 Latin American and African countries, from 2000 to 2016.” (Did someone simply make that number up? Is not that guy in jail now?)

      Sure. Nothing to see here. But what kinds of smoke needs to come out of the gun barrel to show there just might be some graft and corruption under all this stuff. There sure does seem to be some evidence. And I know some people who absolutely CAN remember financial details, to the penny, many years afterwards.

      What, exactly, should the media be questioning, since they seem to be questioning a LOT around this situation? And is not a trial one way to get more of this information revealed and reported? Doesn’t a trial generate a paper trail of information that CAN be further researched and can’t the results of a trial be appealed? Are there not many witnesses to these illegal transactions?

      1. They should be questioning the paper trail. Tens of thousands of Odebrecht emails were leaked by an insider and they clearly spell out the millions in bribery from the Quito Metro and Ruta Viva projects, but because the mayor of Quito at the time was an ally of Guillermo Lasso she won’t even open an investigation (just like she won’t open an investigation into the millions of dollars deposited into Moreno’s undeclared offshore account). Meanwhile, she’s taking this case to court based solely on the word of a confessed criminal.

        The reason the US justice department knows exactly how much Odebrecht paid in bribes is because they kept meticulous records of all the transactions for decades, the shell companies they used, dates, amounts, recipients, go-betweens, everything. They even still had records of payments made to Jaime Nebot in the 90s, but the statute of limitations had run out on those. That paper trail led to the convictions of high-level officials and even former presidents around the world, yet strangely the only people they didn’t keep a single written record on was Correa and Glas, the same two guys that kicked Odebrecht out of the country and fined them tens of millions of dollars for shoddy work.

        Yes, a trial should uncover a paper trail. Yes, there should be many witnesses. As of yet the AG has presented none. However, considering that the current AG was the prosecutor who sent Glas to jail based solely on the testimony of the same witness she’s using now (testimony that he never mentioned two years ago but now suddenly remembers), without ever presenting a single piece of evidence that a crime even took place, I think it’s naive to believe that what’s going on right now is a trial. They didn’t appoint the lowest scoring candidate to the AG position because of her legal skills. They put her there to do exactly what she’s doing.

        This is a dog and pony show for the people who only read the headlines, people who are too lazy or too monolingual to keep up with the story. They’re just going through the motions for headlines sake, using the judiciary to remove their political opponents from the scene and threatening to remove any judge who rules against them (yeah, the AG literally called a press conference to do just that). Not that they have to worry in this case. Despite the law requiring that all cases be assigned to judges by random lot, Camacho has miraculously been assigned to all 11 cases in which Correa is a defendant. What are the chances of rolling the same number 11 times in a row on a 21-sided die? Moreno’s handpicked judiciary council is currently “reviewing” the performance of all judges on the National Court of Justice except one. Guess who she is. In October they’ll sack all the judges they don’t consider loyal and replace them with a fresh new batch of lackeys.

        But like you said, nothing to see here.

      2. I went to med school with a guy named Don Nicol. He was the only guy I ever met that had both a photographic memory and total recall. To your point, I’m sure there are more like Don.

  2. It’s no wonder Facebook has blocked Mr Correa’s page. He is a much more dishonest person than anyone has suggested I’m afraid.

    1. Facebook blocked his page the day after the head of Facebook´s Latin America operations held a private meeting with Moreno. Like Moreno, you agree that anyone you can´t beat at the polls should be censored. Like Moreno, you rely on corporate parasites looking for favors to do it.

      1. LOL. You can’t be serious. Facebook doesn’t block people because a leader of a country asks him to. Facebook blocks people that dont follow the facebook guidelines. If there was a meeting it was likely to give evidence that Correa was using facebook to promote hatred.

        1. What Facebook policy did Correa violate?

          This is the part where your theory hits the wall of not being able to answer a direct question.

  3. Can we have just a modicum of perspective here? Soutb America has been corrupt since westerners arrived 500 years ago. It has been an inherent aspect of the cultures since. Even if one is not corrupt personally, there is no political future for any leader unless he tolerates it among key colleagues and the government bureaucracy.

    So it seems so naive to me to see, every day, accusations thrown by one corrupt or soon-to-be-corrupt candidate against their corrupt opponents. And Ecuador certainly has NO exclusive on this scenario. No wonder so many old “democracies” became so jaded and terminally frustrated so as to allow the legalization of corruption..especially for the reigning top gun?! Don’t you love how the media now goes “it is not criminal, but it is certainly immoral” so often these days?

    Common sense shows that a corrupt society is inconsistent with democracy..but the only solution is a long re-training of that society, Meanwhile, anyone who has had ANY poiltical success in a land that tolerates corruption is co-opted by corruption. (duh!) Correa, Moreno etc locally. Make a list for YOUR homeland. I can.

    1. How is it that despite Correa being accused of such high levels of corruption, nobody has been able to produce a single shred of evidence? Is he really the smartest crook in history?

      1. I covered that for you Jason. I too have seen no credible evidence that Correa was actively corrupt and profiting personally and deeply. But you cannot succeed to that level of politics in most of the Americas without being aware of corruption among the people you need and the government bureaucracy. Does that make him complicit? To my mind it does but who am I to judge. He was, at the very least,both a realist and complicit.

        I find the counties who decriminalize/legalize corruption far less worthy of respect. Correa did a lot of good things. He merely overstayed his welcome.

        1. Complicit? All of the corruption convictions so far (with the exception of the Glas sham) were cases started during Correa’s government. The entire PetroEcuador scandal was investigated and indicted were made during Correa’s government, the trials just dragged out into Moreno’s term. He charged his own brother for that matter. For a guy who was supposedly complicit, he sure seemed to be charging anyone who he uncovered.

          1. I can understand and sympathize with the steam you are venting.

            By “complicit” I mean that he knew of or ignored the corruption around him. There is/was no other way for him to reach and maintain his Presidency. We can say the same and worse about Obama..and we need not go on with a list that will never end. Is one complicit when one is leader and turns eyes away from eveil being done to the country you are leading? I say yes. But I also say that if he, and everyone else MUST. at the very least, turn their eyes from such things or accept that large power is beyond their reach or that they will be assassinated.

            One does not make the rules for this game until oine clims the pile of .er…horse isht. If the culture is corrupt, if the system is corrupt, those are the rules one must play by or leave the field. If the game is corrupt, everyone playing it must accept corruption or lose. And it cannot be changed with a new leader. Only with multi-generational re-education.

            1. I’m not venting steam, just stating facts. You need to read it with a different inner voice. I also do not accept your premise that the only way he maintained his presidency was because he knew of or tolerated corruption. He prosecuted many corruption cases. It’s why so many of his former allies are now outspoken critics (including his brother). One of the main reasons people like Egas (owner of TeleAmazonas) and Lasso and Nebot were such harsh critics is because Correa cut them off from the corrupt teat that they had been feeding off for so long. It’s for that reason they’ve conjured up this absurd case to remove him from the political scene. The only way they can get back to business as usual is in an Ecuador where Correa can’t expose their activities.

  4. It’s not surprising that prosecutors have found corruption during the Presidency of Rafael Correa, because political corruption is endemic the world over. It certainly did not start in Ecuador with President Rafael Correa and it just as surely did not end with President Lenin Moreno. What is clear is that the targeting for prosecutions are politically motivated. If you haven’t caught on to that, you’re not really paying attention.

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