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Former Correa aide refutes parts of ‘bribes’ case testimony

A former assistant secretary to Rafael Correa said Wednesday that the “Solidarity Fund” being investigated as part of the Bribes 2012-2016 case was fully funded by Alianza Pais members and included personal contributions from the former president.

Rafael Correa

Françoise Villalba appeared voluntarily at the attorney general’s office in Quito to provide “supplemental” testimony and to refute testimony given last week by Correa aides Pamela Martínez and Laura Terán. She claimed that the Solidarity Fund should be considered separately from allegations of bribes allegedly paid to Alianza Pais by government contractors.

Villalba’s attorney, Gabriel Rivera, said that Martínez’s and Terán’s testimony “distorted the truth” about the Solidarity Fund and that Villalba felt it necessary to provide additional information.

“This fund was entirely voluntary on the part of Alianza Pais members and it even received contributions from President Correa himself,” Rivera said, explaining that the fund was created to fund routine party party expenses. “My client came today with receipts for the contributions, including proofs that the president repaid a $6,000 loan he took from the fund.”

Prosecutors claim that the $6,000 payment to Correa was linked to contractor bribes.

In a Wednesday tweet, Correa confirmed Villalba’s story and said he contributed $380 a month to the fund.