HomeNewsBriefEx-President of El Salvador Arrested on Corruption Charges
BRIEF

Ex-President of El Salvador Arrested on Corruption Charges

EL SALVADOR / 31 OCT 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Former El Salvador President Elías Antonio Saca and several members of his administration have been arrested on corruption-related charges, another indication that accountability may be finally reaching the country’s political elites. 

Police arrested Saca and two officials from his administration (2004-2009) on October 30, at the wedding of one of Saca’s children, reported La Prensa Gráfica. Three other suspects were also arrested, all of whom currently work at the Presidential House. The president’s former private secretary, Élmer Charlaix, turned himself in hours later. 

El Salvador’s Attorney General’s Office announced via Twitter that Saca, Charlaix and two of the other suspects are accused of embezzlement, illicit association and money laundering. 

Saca was already under investigation by a civil court for illicit enrichment. The court recently found that Saca received nearly $16 million from a government account, and that those funds were later deposited in Charlaix’s private accounts.

In recent weeks, Charlaix has said that those funds, as well as another $3 million that is under scrutiny, ended up in a “secret account,” reported El Faro. The “secret account” has been talked about among politicians for years, but it is not explicitly defined in the national budget, according to El Faro.

All of the suspects are currently in the custody of the National Civil Police’s anti-narcotics division. 

InSight Crime Analysis

In the last several months, authorities in El Salvador have uncovered apparent high-level corruption that stretches back decades and cuts across political affiliation. This suggests a cyclical and perhaps even systematic siphoning off of millions of dollars from a government that is currently facing a financial crisis, and may be forced to default on its debt

Both Saca’s predecessor, Francisco Flores, and his successor, Mauricio Funes, have also come under scrutiny for alleged illicit enrichment while in office. Saca and Flores belonged to the right-wing ARENA party, while Funes represented the leftist FMLN, which is still in power. Furthermore, the country’s former Attorney General Luis Martínez was arrested in August for allegedly using his position to obstruct investigations into a prominent businessman.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

That El Salvador is investigating and bringing charges against such powerful figures suggests the country is making progress in terms of ensuring that official misbehavior does not go unpunished. Successfully prosecuting these cases is another matter, however. Flores died in January 2016 before his investigation went to court, while Funes has been granted aslyum in Nicaragua. And Martínez, who was being held on charges stemming from an unrelated case, was freed in September

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

EL SALVADOR / 9 SEP 2011

Honduras is on track to reach a murder rate of 86 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011, while El Salvador could…

BARRIO 18 / 17 MAR 2015

El Salvador's recent spike in homicides may be related to the recent transfer of gang leaders to a high-security prison,…

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

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

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. …