Odebrecht corruption trial against Glas and eight others enters its final phase
The Odebrecht corruption trial against Vice President Jorge Glas and eight others has entered its final phase. On Wednesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys began presenting closing arguments, after which criminal court judges Édgar Flores, Sylvia Sánchez and Richard Villagómez will begin deliberations for their verdicts.
Glas continues to maintain his innocence. Arriving at court Wednesday, he claimed that the prosecution has failed to prove the case against him. “There has been a pact (with the government) and Odebrecht in this case, very probably a political pact, with my head in the crosshairs,” he said outside the courtroom.
Much of the evidence against Glas and his uncle, Ricardo Rivera, is based on testimony and taped conversations provided by Odebrecht company representatives who have been convicted of corruption in a Brazilian court. The Odebrecht representatives admit paying as much as $32 million in bribes to Ecuadorian officials in charge of government contracts since 2010.
Other evidence has been provided by the U.S. State Department and private citizens, including a close associate to Rivera.
Ecuador Attorney General Carlos Baca says his case against all defendants is “solid and air-tight.” Baca’s prosecutors maintain that Glas received millions of dollars in payments based on a one percent over-ride on all government contracts since he became vice president in 2014. The money, they maintain, was paid through Rivera.
Private accuser against Glas, César Montúfar, blasted the state’s prosecution team Wednesday for being banned from the reparations phase of the trial on Tuesday. Three government attorneys arrived seven minutes late to court and were banned form further proceedings by the judges. “What this means is that the people are unrepresented in any action to regain the money that was received illegally,” he said. “This is irresponsible and unprofessional behavior on the part of the government,” he added.
The judges action barring the prosecutors does not affect the criminal case.
The judges have offered no schedule for delivering verdicts but say their deliberations could take days or even weeks.