New testimony in the Villavicencio assassination names those responsible, prosecutors say
The attorney general’s office says that witness testimony has provided the names of those who ordered the assassination of former presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio as well as the dollar amount promised the hitmen. In a social media statement, the office said the testimony was given Sunday, two days after the prison murders of seven asassination suspects.
Prosecutors also said the investigation of the assassination is nearing completion and that they will focus now on verifying the new information before preparing a final crime report.
Following the announcement by prosecutors, Christian Zurita, who replaced Villavicencio as the Constrye party candidate, claimed that members of the government of former president Rafael Correa were involved in the assassination and that the assassins had been promised $200,000 to carry out the murder.
The attorney general’s office did not confirm Zurita’s claim.
On his Twitter account, Zurita wrote: “Advance testimony of the only witness who remains alive (and who was protected) indicated, under oath, that those responsible for the murder of Fernando Villavicencio were part of the government of Correa.”
Zurita added that the testimony provided was legitimate and that prosecutors “now know where to look. The investigation should conclude quickly.”
In comments following the assassination, Zurita said Villavicencio had planned to release information before the first election that would implicate “powerful people in a wide-ranging corruption scandal.”
Luisa González, Citizen Revolution presidential candidate, attacked Zurita’s statements Monday morning, calling them “gossip and inuendo.” She demanded “immediate clarification” from the attorney general’s office as well as disclosure of what information prosecutors have. González faces Daniel Noboa in Sunday’s runoff election.
Former president and Citizens Revolution founder Rafael Correa called Zurita’s charges baseless. “This is an infamy that seeks to destroy democracy and once again prevent Ecuador from getting rid of so much misery at the ballot box,” he said.