Former employee points finger at Rafael Correa in extortion and bribery operation

Sep 2, 2019 | 10 comments

A former presidential assistant testified Sunday that she managed financial payments that prosecutors claim were bribes extorted by the government of former president Rafael Correa.

Attorneys listen Sunday to testimony by former presidential assistant Laura Terán.

Appearing before National Court of Justice Judge Daniella Camacho in the so-called “Sobornos “2012-2016” (Bribes 2012-2016) case, Laura Terán displayed a flipchart she used to track and direct funds received by the Alianza Pais political party from government contractors.

In addition to overseeing the collection and distribution of funds, she said she hand-delivered cash to government officials on several occasions. The chart identified top administration officials in code — Correa was A1 while former vice president Jorge Glas was A2, she said.

The money that Terán managed, known collectively as the “Solidarity Fund,” was used for election campaign expenses, to promote a 2011 referendum sponsored by Correa, as well as payments to officials, prosecutors say.

Laura Terán

According to Terán, government officials were assigned to collect money from at least 37 companies and organizations, most of whom had contracts with the government. Attorney General Diana Salazar says that the collections amounted to extortion and bribery and were ordered by Correa.

Terán also testified that after Correa left office in 2017, her boss, presidential advisor Pamela Martínez, ordered her to destroy all records of the funds she received and managed.

Terán, a 25-year government employee, said Martínez made clear that the fund-raising and distribution operation was directed by Correa. “According to my supervisor, everything I did was at the order of the president,” Terán said.

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