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Judge orders pre-trial detention for Cuencano Juan Pablo Eljuri in Odebrecht corruption case

Quito Judge Ana Cristina Guerrón ordered pre-trial detention for Cuenca businessman Juan Pablo Eljuri Tuesday for his alleged role in the Odebrecht corruption case.

Prosecutor Diana Salazar

Guerrón also ordered the seizure of all Eljuri property in Ecuador and a freeze on his bank accounts.

According to prosecutor Diana Salazar, Eljuri is being investigated for receiving money from the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht through the South American International Bank (Sai ​​Bank) based on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, of which he is an owner. Salazar says those funds were then paid as bribes to Ecuadorian officials who handled Odebrecht contracts. She said her investigation identified several Odebrecht representatives who made deposits at the bank.

According to court authorities, Eljuri left Ecuador for Colombia on August 24 and is believed to be staying at a family property on Curaçao, off the Venezuelan coast.

Juan Pablo Eljuri

Eljuri’s attorney Emiliano Donoso called the charges “bogus” and said there is no evidence linking his client to bribery payments. “All activities at Sai Bank involved the purchase and sale of investment portfolios,” he said. “There was no illegal activity and certainly no connection to the Odebrecht corruption.”

Donoso asked the judge to reconsider the detention order for Eljuri and said a freeze on his bank accounts would affect 16 businesses that he operates in Ecuador and Colombia.

The Cuenca-based Eljuris are considered the richest family in Ecuador and one of the richest in Latin America.

29 thoughts on “Judge orders pre-trial detention for Cuencano Juan Pablo Eljuri in Odebrecht corruption case

  1. Diana Salazar is one fearless lady. First, she goes after the vice president and now the Eljuris. My hat’s off to her and I pray she stays safe.

  2. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along…

    This says it all: “Eljuri’s attorney Emiliano Donoso called the charges “bogus” and said there is no evidence linking his client to bribery payments. “All activities at Sai Bank involved the purchase and sale of investment portfolios,” he said. “There was no illegal activity and certainly no connection to the Odebrecht corruption.”

    In a related announcement, Sai Bank also announced that Ecuador’s own jason faulkner is now writing all of their press releases on this issue. faulkner has promised to be open, honest and fair in everything he posts.

  3. According to Forbes magazine, the Eljuris may be richer than Carlos Slim in Mexico. Their wealth is hard to measure because most of their 500 or so companies (in 6 or 7 countries) are not publicly traded. Their profits just in Ecuador were over $3 billion last year. By the way, Juan Pablo lives –or used to live– in a penthouse on Ordoñez Lasso.

    1. Good for Mr. Eljuri and his family regarding their wealth. Rich people make the world go round. Think of the thousands of people that Eljuri employs and the debt of gratitude that they owe to him.

      1. Think of all of the influence that was exerted in order for them to corner the market on all of those businesses. No competition is odd don’t you think?

      2. Your post suggest that we still should be living under a serf system. In modern economies, a worker sells his skills for a salary. He/she does need to express any “gratitude” and he/she does not owe his employer anything beyond a good day’s work for a good day’s pay. And if it were not for laws mandating certain minimum wage and other employment benefits, I can assure you that the Eljuri’s would not be as “generous” to their employees as the law requires. If anyone has a “debt of gratitude” it is the Eljuri’s to all their workers who have helped them earn their billions $ . And please don’t accuse me of being some wild eyed socialist or communist. I suggest you read the Papal encyclicals going back to the late 19th Century, if you need clarification on the modern concept of employer/worker relations.

        1. No problems, Jose, I’m not accusing you of anything.

          God bless wealthy folks and big corporations everywhere. Were it not for them, millions of people everywhere would be living in much worse economic conditions. The Eljuri’s and others like them, are heroes.

        2. Jose, while there may be some merit to the ideas in your post, you have raised them by creating a strawman argument in response to Dieguitos post. Neither Dieguito nor his post suggest what you claim———— that we should be living under “a serf system”.

          Please take the time to learn what a strawman argument is. It is probably the most insidious of all the logical fallacies. Your posts would be given far greater credibility if you avoided such fallacies.

          Here is a link to a simple explanation of strawman arguments.

          Here is the link to 23 other logical fallacies that you would do well to avoid:

          1. SW No strawman here really. He is making an inference to an assumption. Your way off and is counter to your idea that everyone can have an opinion as you espouse….actually what Dueguito is doing is making an argument from ignorance. There is absolutely no connection between rich people bettering the world iir making the world go round – absurd really – and the opposite could be easily argued – that rich people drag the world down and make the world a more difficult place. There is absolutely no connection to rich people and bettering the world. Take climate change for instance. Rich people caused this and continue to live a lie for riches…..without concern for its devastating effects on humans and the environment that sustains us. Go blow your whistle elsewhere – cheers mate ! Oh an study the logical fallacies a bit more – you know where they are…..

            1. Learn how many websites truncate links in the comment section and then post. Disqus truncates all dynamic links but they still function just fine. Yours isn’t a dynamic link. The two I posted are and work just fine.

              1. I tried your link and it did not work. The message was that the site couldn’t be reached as the address could not be found. When I was able to type it out in its entirety, it functioned just fine. Perhaps others had the same problem, which is the reason that I noted the complete address. Very entertaining website, by the way. Since you seem to have expertise in this area, perhaps you can enlighten us as to how many websites truncate links in the comment section. Then perhaps you can further enlighten us by summarizing what a dynamic link is.

                1. I’m surprised at this information. When I tried the truncated link it worked just fine and avoided having to copy and past the non-dynamic link you posted in a new window in a browser. Of course the link you posted, if copied and pasted, would also work but less conveniently.

                  I can only guess why the dynamic (but truncated) link I posted didn’t work for you. My best guess would be that it was a problem with your browser but trying to trouble shoot something like that would probably be futile. Just as a test, I’ll past another link here that Disqus will truncate and you can tell us if it works or not. If not, that would lend credence to my suspicion that the problem rests with your browser, not the link. If you use two or more different browsers, try these truncated links in alternate browsers and tell us what happens.

                  Here is a link to a different article from Cuenca High Life that is long and Disqus will certainly truncate. Tell us what happens:


                  As for your question about how many websites truncate links that are posted in the comment section, I would guess that it is nearly all of them. I can tell you for sure that all of the sites that have comment sections run by Disqus truncate all links. Without looking the info up again, I can also tell you that Disqus manages the comment sections on over 50% of websites that have comment sections

                  After this comment is posted, I will go to the above truncated link and tell you my experience.

                  As for what a dynamic link is, it is simply one that when clicked on will automatically take you to the desired web page as opposed to a link such as you posted that would require the reader to copy and paste the link into a new address bar and tell the browser to “go there” by pressing the “enter” key. Both work, but obviously the dynamic link is more convenient if it works

    1. An expat who has lived here longer than me and knows Juan Eljuri once told me Eljuri owned another financial institution (not one of the ones popular with expats). That being said I would not be at all surprised if he owned other financial institutions either in whole or in part as this is a family that seems to hide its money rather than flaunt it.

      Your post did get me thinking however. With the precedent that was set with Coopera it seems any financial institution including JEP could be raided under the bogus charge of money laundering and the results of the money laundering “investigation” placed under wraps for 15 years like Coopera. Unlike COOPERA JEP is covered by FDIC type insurance, called COSEDE here. Like in the U.S. the COSEDE only retains about a tenth of one percent of all bank deposits in its emergency fund so if JEP is more than a thousandth of the baking system and were to fail completely it could not be bailed out even assuming the fund has the money its supposed to not IOU’s like a social security fund.

  4. The majority of super rich people in the world, are people who has exploit their workers, and have done a lot of under the table deals,look at Mr. Trump in Us., that has billions and hate all latinos and black people, who had make him very wealthy.

  5. This is very interesting, I have never seen a picture of Juan El Juri in the press in Ecuador ever before and had no idea what he looked like. There seemed to be an unwritten rule that El Juris were never to have their faces published in the press. I met his daughter who was heavily protected and acted as if she was about to be kidnapped for the first 5 minutes. Talking with her my impression was she was not used to meeting people and was extremely isolated, basically a victim of the family’s wealth.

    I tend not to trust the governments case regarding Juan Eljuri. When they say they are going to confiscate his properties that is a huge incentive for a cash-strapped government and conflict of interest. The Eljuri’s probably own at least 5% of the privately owned property in Azuay province and I would not be surprised if it were 10-15 percent. Rural fence posts with red stripes are a common way they identify their properties but they own many other properties that are not marked like that including properties in the city like the empty lot next to Parque de la Madre and many other lots some of which have large condominium buildings on them.

    Considering he has not been found guilty of any crimes seizing his properties would be a criminal act. Then again in Ecuador you are considered guilty until proven innocent; it’s hard to explain what that feels like to someone who has never experienced it but trust me it’s no fun.

    I like that they are going after corruption but it needs to be done in a fair way. I think a lot of the outrage against the El Juri’s is nothing more that racism and jealousy due to them originally being immigrants from overseas (hence the gold dome in Yunguilla). Also I find it suspicious that all the corruption being prosecuted is related to Olderbrect as if the only fraud in Ecuador was due to the influence of a Brazilian construction company.

    I will always have a special affinity for Juan Eljuri because he and his company are the only ones that I know of who were more abusive to government goons then myself even shoving them around physically on several occasions culminating in Juan himself allegedly punching out one of the goons based on the goon’s on camera testimony.

    1. Hey Michael, I find it odd/suspicious too that the only corruption being investigated in EC involves Odebrecht/PetroEcuador/PetroAmazones. IMO, one wouldn’t have to dig too deep to find it in the local boondoggle known as the Tranvía project…

  6. EC will be going on a wild goose chase trying successfully prosecute Eljuri. He may have some knowledge about the Odebrecht corruption case, but he’s not going stand for any pre-trial detention based on accusations. The total bribe amounts involved in EC is “chump change” to this family. How does EC think they can freeze bank accounts that are held in Eljuri family owned banks.
    This family has plenty of “juice” and bah-zillions of $$, they aren’t going to be pushed around. These are international players that know how to protect themselves. EC has no history of ever landing a “fish”, that’s even close to the size of Eljuri. Just call Miami to confirm.

    1. I agree, this is a whole different thing then going after Jorge Glas. My biggest worry at this point is that El Juri very well may be talking to Correa about getting him back into the presidency to help make this case go away. While that may work out ok for El Juri it would be a huge set back for the rest of the country.

  7. Painting all rich people with the same broad brush is lazy and or uninformed rhetoric.

    Many of the top billionaires in the world have pledged to give back in excess of 90% of their wealth through charitable organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, et al.

    Without an incentive to make a profit humans would be worse off, it’s just a fact of human nature that we want a proportional reward to the effort we put forth I.e if a govt is going to tax my incremental next $ of earnings at 90% then I will not make the effort. It’s just plain common sense.

    This slows economic growth and fewer prospective workers get hired and wages become stagnant – everyone loses when there is less economic activity and everyone wins when there is more even people on welfare will get more benefits as the govt coffers fill as the result of higher GDP.

    To the extent that overburdensome govt regulation impedes that effort to reward equation then we get less prosperity for all see Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela and and pre “free market” embracing China.

    1. Absolutely spot on, Frank. Statists/socialists/collectivists will never grasp this, but what you have written is an inmutable law of economics.

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