Former Interior Minister faces corruption charges; Attorney General Diana Salazar is pregnant; Police target highway van robberies; Noboa meets Macron

May 17, 2024 | 0 comments

National Assemblyman Santiago Becdach and former assemblyman Diego Pinto are requesting a full investigation of “corrupt activities” by former Interior Minister José Serrano and two others. Becdach and Pinto delivered their evidence to the Attorney General’s Office Wednesday, saying it involves testimony from the trial of former comptroller Carlos Pólit, convicted of fraud last month in a Miami court.

In addition to Serrano, who served in the Rafael Correa government for five years, Milagro Mayor Pedro Solines and insurance executive Diego Sánchez were named in evidence delivered to prosecutors.

Former Interior Minister and National Assembly president José Serrano

“In his testimony against Pólit, Sánchez revealed he paid bribes to Solines and Serrano to maintain insurance policies with public entities,” Becdach said. He added that the bribes, “flagged” two years ago by assassinated presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, involved large amounts of public money.

In addition to his role as Interior Minister, Serrano served as National Assembly President in 2017 and 2018.

Police target highway van robberies
In a series of meetings between National Police, Azuay and Guayas provincial officials and tourist van companies, plans were developed to stop highway van robberies on routes between Cuenca and Guayaquil and between Cuenca and Machala. According to police, there have been seven assaults on passenger vans since January in which armed gangs intercepted vans and robbed passengers.

According to Deputy Police Commander Carlos Ruiz, nighttime police patrols will be increased, and fast-response telephone “hot lines” have been established. “With one exception, the robberies have occurred at night and this is the time period when we will concentrate our efforts,” he said. He added that other measures are being taken that he could not publicly disclose.

In a typical assault, Ruiz said gang members stop vans with roadblocks, then divert them to side roads or driveways where the robberies are carried out. The vans involved in the assaults carry between seven and 16 passengers, police say.

Attorney General Diana Salazar is pregnant
National Assembly President Henry Kronfle is requesting the Assembly’s Legislative Administrative Council to delay a possible impeachment trial against Attorney General Diana Salazar. “She informed us today that she is pregnant, and we all understand the importance for her to maintain a healthy environment in the months ahead,” Kronfle said. “Based on her doctor’s assessment, this is a high-risk pregnancy that requires special care.”

Salazar announced her pregnancy in a social media video. “For the last five years, I have jealously guarded my private life because it is the proper thing to do and I wanted to take care of the most beautiful thing I have, my family,” she said. “Today, I must tell you that my family is growing and that soon there will be four of us. This is a source of deep joy for me and for those who love us.”

In her statement, Salazar said she has maintained a “significant relationship” for three years and that the pregnancy was planned and was not a “surprise.”

Noboa meets Macron
In his latest stop on an eight-day European tours, President Daniel Noboa met Thursday with French President Emmanuel at the Elysée Palace in Paris. According to announcement from the French government, the two presidents discussed transnational crime, trade and cultural exchanges in a 30-minute meeting.

Earlier in the week, Noboa met with Pope Francis at the Vatican and Italian President Sergio Mattarella. Noboa returns to Quito Friday or Saturday.

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