The National Court of Justice on Monday dismissed an appeal of former president Rafael Correa’s conviction in the so-called Sobornos [Bribes] 2012-2016 case. Correa’s defense team is expected to file a final appeal before he is ordered to begin an eight-year prison term.
The court’s decision was announced in a virtual hearing that included appeals by former officials Alexis Mera and Walter Solís, businessman Alberto Hidalgo, administrative assistant Laura Terán and 16 others. The court accepted the appeals of Hidalgo and Terán but rejected the others.
Correa was convicted of being the ring leader of a criminal operation that extorted money from government contractors for the benefit of the Alianza Pais political party. Prosecutors claim that more than $15 million was channeled to Alianza Pais bank accounts during the five-year investigation period.
Among the alleged bribes paid to Alianza Pais was $2.5 million from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Hidalgo’s sentence was reduced from eight years to 32 months while Terán’s was dropped from three months to 12 days. Terán, who worked in the president’s office, assisted the prosecution in the case.
In their appeal, Correa’s attorneys claimed that the former president was uninvolved in and unaware of any bribery activities and was the victim of political persecution. Correa left Ecuador in 2017 and lives with his family in Belgium.