HomeNewsAnalysisIn Rafael Correa’s Absence, Ecuador Goes After His Allies
ANALYSIS

In Rafael Correa’s Absence, Ecuador Goes After His Allies

ECUADOR / 29 AUG 2019 BY JAVIER VILLALBA AND CHRIS DALBY EN

The net is tightening around former Ecuador president Rafael Correa after a new order for his arrest, underscoring the country’s determination to bring the once-popular leader to justice, along with his closest political allies. 

On August 8, Judge Daniella Camacho announced a preventative detention order for Correa and requested that Interpol issue an arrest warrant, El País reported. Interpol has repeatedly rejected such requests in the past, citing a lack of evidence.

This time, Ecuador’s Attorney General Diana Salazar has accused the former president of being behind a bribery scheme, which she described as a “well-structured criminal organization that received payments from government contractors,” according to a report by Ecuavisa.

The payments from the government contractors allegedly went to the presidential campaign of the Alianza PAIS political party, which led to Correa’s and running mate Jorge Glas’ return to power in 2013.  

Arrest warrants were also issued for a number of high-level officials in Correa’s administration, including former Vice President Glas, who is already behind bars in connection to another corruption case. Former ministers Vinicio Alvarado, Walter Solís and María de los Ángeles Duarte also face charges. 

SEE ALSO: Ecuador News and Profile

Around 20 individuals close to Correa’s government are being investigated for their role in a case known as Bribes 2012-2016, El Comercio reported. 

The former president, who currently lives in Belgium, denies the accusations and calls them a political persecution campaign.

But this is not the first time that Correa has faced accusations of receiving illegal funds. His successor, President Lenín Moreno, opened an investigation in April 2018 to prove whether Correa had received campaign funding from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC).

In an interview with Caracol, Moreno also alluded to a potential agreement between Correa’s government and dissident FARC elements to allow drug trafficking at the Colombia-Ecuador border.

“We can presume that there could have been some sort of agreement, tacit at best … for the transportation of drugs through a section of the border,” the president said.

Finally, Correa has been linked to the sweeping Odebrecht corruption scandal. The Brazilian construction firm allegedly paid $11.3 million to Correa and Glas’ 2013 election campaign. While Correa denies this, the company routinely bribed officials for construction contracts throughout the region.

InSight Crime Analysis

There is little chance that Rafael Correa will be brought to justice by this new arrest warrant or any others under current conditions. He has legal residence in Belgium through his wife, a Belgian national, and Brussels has historically proved lenient in extradition cases. Furthermore, Belgium and Ecuador do not currently have an extradition treaty.

In 2018, Judge Daniella Camacho had already called for Correa’s arrest in connection to the kidnapping of a political opponent seven years earlier in Colombia. In response, Correa declared that he felt “brutally persecuted” and explained that he was looking to request political asylum from the Belgian government.

However, this new investigation shows that the Moreno administration will not stop scrutinizing Correa’s time in office. While seeing Correa in an Ecuadorean court room is unlikely, Moreno is using this to go after other powerful elites in the country. 

Yet Moreno’s own administration is under scrutiny by the Attorney General’s Office, which is currently pursuing at least 20 corruption investigations that involve senior political and economic figures linked to both Correa’s and Moreno’s governments, El Comercio reported.

SEE ALSO: Major Odebrecht Corruption Cases and Investigations in 2019

The fear of retribution has clearly spread among Correa’s former allies. His minister of pubic works, Walter Solís, is a fugitive from justice after being tied to misappropriation of public funds. Correa’s old tourism minister, Vinicio Alvarado, fled to Venezuela after being investigated for illegal campaign financing.  

One of the few to be convicted is Glas, who is spending six years in jail in relation to the Odebrecht scandal, as well as facing embezzlement allegations in another case. 

In an interview with Argentina’s Página 12, Correa defended himself, saying “they want me dead outside the country or a prisoner inside the country…they know we will win any elections if I am there.”

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 MAR 2017

A former congresswoman in Guatemala was sent to prison to await trial for her alleged involvement in an embezzlement scheme,…

ECUADOR / 11 APR 2013

Ecuador has witnessed a dramatic rise in bulk cash smuggling over the last five years, reflecting evolutions in criminal groups'…

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 OCT 2019

A little-known British financier has been wooing Venezuelan officials with an outlandish plan to liberate $1.5 billion of Venezuelan gold…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…