Ecuador national police arrested five people Friday in early morning raids in connection to the Odebrecht bribery scandal. Among those taken into custody was an uncle of Vice President Jorge Glas, a former mayor of Latacunga, and the president of a giant agribusiness firm.
Police raided 12 properties in Quito, Guayaquil, and Latacunga in an operation that began at 5 a.m. Among the houses searched in Guayaquil was that of Ecuador’s Comptroller General Carlos Pólit, who is out of the country on personal business, according to his attorney.
Among the property confiscated in the raids were computers, documents, expensive cars, jewelry, and a check written on an Odebrecht account for $980,000.
President Lenin Moreno said that the arrests and investigations, based on a list of names provided by the Brazilian government, were just the beginning of a major law enforcement operation. “Unfortunately, there are many more arrests to come,” said Moreno. “This is a frontal assault on corruption and the betrayal of the public trust. I plan to step out of the way and let the police, prosecutors and courts do their job.”
Glas’ uncle, Ricardo Rivera was arrested in Guayaquil at 7 a.m. while former mayor of Latacunga, Jose Rubén Terán, was taken into custody later in the morning at his home. Gustavo Massuh Isaías, president of Agrícola Clemensa SA, was arrested on his way to work in Quito.
Rivera is owner of the Satelital TV channel and previously worked for the government as director of the telecommuncations office.
In documents filed with the United States Justice Department, Odebrecht, the giant Brazilian-based construction company, admitted paying $788 million in bribes to government officials and private citizens in 12 Latin American and African countries, including Ecuador. According to the documents, Odebrecht made $33.5 million in illegal payments in Ecuador.