Former vice president María Alejandra Vicuña was found guilty of extortion by a three judge panel of the National Court and sentenced to one year in prison and to pay a fine of $178,000. Speaking for the other judges, Marco Rodríguez said the judges agreed originally that Vicuña should serve a four-year sentence but decided on the reduction due to time served and good behavior.
Vicuña was charged in December 2018 with demanding cash contributions from an employee when she was a member of National Assembly. The judges ruled that the evidence against the ex-vice president was “overwhelming” and that they found no mitigating circumstances that would reduce her guilt. “It is a violation of Ecuadorian criminal law to extort financial payments from public employees,” the judges said in their ruling. Vicuña was elected to the National Assembly in 2011 and served until 2013.
Vicuña was named vice president in October 2017 by President Lenin Moreno following the arrest and jailing of Jorge Glas, who had served as vice president to Rafael Correa and had remained in the position when Moreno took office in May of that year. Glas was later convicted on corruption charges and is serving a six-year prison sentence.
Vicuña resigned her post following a unanimous vote in the National Assembly that she step down. She was replaced with current vice president Otto Sonnenholzner.