National Court Judge Miguel Jurado said Tuesday that Vice President Jorge Glas played a central role in Ecuador’s Odebrecht bribery scandal. His comments came in a final hearing in which he officially ordered Glas and 12 others to stand trial for illicit association and receiving bribes.
If convicted, the defendants face three to five years in prison.
The judge agreed with Attorney General Carlos Baca’s 28 criminal counts against Glas and said the evidence supported the state’s claim that the vice president received $13.5 million in bribes for government projects managed by Odebrecht. Jurado said that the money was channeled through Glas’ uncle and former business partner Ricardo Rivera, who will also stand trial.
During the hearing, the judge ordered the seizure all bank accounts and property owned by the defendants in Ecuador and overseas.
Jurado agreed to allow the testimony of Glas’ chief accuser, Ecuador Odebrecht operations chief José Conceição Santos. Glas’ attorneys had argued that Santos allegations should be disallowed because of his admitted guilt in the bribery scheme. Santos is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Brazil and cannot be prosecuted in Ecuador under a double jeopardy law.
The judge also ruled that former president Rafael Correa could not be called to testify.
Glas’ order to trial probably signals the end of his vice presidency. Ecuador’s constitution allows a president to replace a vice president who is absent from the job for 90 days. Glas has been in jail since October 3 and Jurado and Baca say the trial will be lengthy with a start date yet to be determined.