Correa claims attorney general is trying to implicate him in the ‘Metastasis’ corruption case

Feb 5, 2024

Former President Rafael Correa is denouncing what he says is an attempt by Attorney General Diana Salazar to connect him to the Metastasis corruption case. He says alleged references to him in telephone conversations involving narco trafficker Leandro Norero cannot be proven.

Former president Rafael Correa

In the transcripts of 17,000 Norero phone conversations, Correa is mentioned 25 times, according to information provided by the Attorney General’s office.

“These chats are not proof of anything,” Correa said in an interview on Radio Pichincha Thursday. “She [Salazar] is basing her case against me and Citizens Revolution on cell phone calls which do not include real names, only coded names. It is clear that her intent is to portray me as a narco politician,” he said by phone from his home in Belgium.

During the interview Correa admitted he had “a very limited” relationship with Norero when he was president. “My intention then was to pacify and bring together gangs in Guayaquil for public service and he [Norero] was the leader of one of the gangs.”

Norero, founder and leader of the Chone Killers gang, is the central figure in the Metastasis case, which has led to the arrest of at 38 judges, police officers, prison administrators and others. Norero was murdered while serving a prison sentence in October 2022.

Correa dismissed a claim of “racism” made against him by Salazar, saying it was a distraction from her efforts to “persecute” him. In the transcripts of Norero’s conversations, Correa is said to have used racist slang on several occasions to describe Salazar.

Although Salazar says more charges are forthcoming in the Metastasis investigation, none so far name Correa or members of Citizens Revolution.

In a related interview on Radio Pichincha, former legal advisor to Correa, Jorge Cortés, said he has seen nothing in the Metastasis transcripts to directly implicate Correa but says the former president and the Citizens Revolution have suffered “some political damage” from the case’s revelations.

“There are at least two former National Assembly members of the Correista bloc who appear to have had a relationship with Norero, possibly even receiving money him, but this does not involve Correa,” Cortés said. “He [Correa] has seen the dropping poll numbers for himself and Citizens Revolution and has reason to be concerned.”

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