The Prosecutor’s Office of El Salvador ordered the arrest of the former president of the country Salvador Sánchez Cerén for alleged money laundering during his time as vice president, in the mandate of Mauricio Funes (2009-2014).
According to Efe, the attorney general, Rodolfo Delgado, announced that he ordered the arrest of former President Sánchez Cerén for allegedly receiving $ 530,000 in irregular payments from state funds when he was vice president of Funes (2009-2014), who has lived in Nicaragua since 2016 and received the nationality of that country.
Sánchez Cerén thus becomes the fourth president of the Salvadoran democratic stage to be required by the Prosecutor’s Office on charges of corruption.
In addition, as reported by Europa Press, the Prosecutor’s Office has arrested five former officials in the framework of the so-called ‘Operation Embezzlement’, in which it has already arrested five former officials of the Front Farabundo Martí of National Liberation (FMLN) accused of the same crime, as indicated by the attorney general, Rodolfo Delgado, according to the local media ‘La Prensa Gráfica’.
Those arrested, for the moment, are the former Minister of Health and former Mayor of San Salvador, Violeta Menjívar; the former Vice Minister of Science and Technology Erlinda Hándal; the former Vice Minister of Agriculture Hugo Flores; the former Minister of Finance Carlos Cáceres and the former deputy Calixto Mejía.
The secretary general of the opposition Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN, left), Óscar Ortiz, accused the Salvadoran government of trying to “silence critical voices” by arresting several former officials of his party.
The FMLN defends itself
“Everything that we are seeing now has, deep down, the purpose of silencing critical voices, threatening all kinds of opposition, blackmailing the difference and above all, what we never thought would return to El Salvador, political persecution,” Ortiz said in a press conference. The opposition leader added that in the country “a systematic violation of the civil, political and human rights of our families and our communities has begun to consolidate.”
In the opinion of Ortiz, vice president during the government of Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014-2019), “this operation is aimed at confusing, manipulating and above all at hiding the massive corruption of recent years.”
“The corrupt want to become those who can dictate the rules of transparency,” he said, adding that in the country “what is being consummated is a dictatorship” with the Executive of Nayib Bukele.
However, the Prosecutor’s Office has also ordered the arrest of the former Ministers of Public Works Gerson Martínez and Manuel Orlando Quinteros Aguilar, the former Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources Lina Pohl and the former Minister of Agriculture and president of the Autonomous Executive Port Commission (CEPA) , José Guillermo López.
Delgado has stressed that the former officials are accused of appropriation of public funds and has advanced that the arrests will continue, as well as the process of requesting the extinction of ownership of the assets of the accused will begin.
The attorney general has indicated that the investigations in the framework of this case began in 2019 derived from the case known as ‘Public Looting’, in which the appropriation of money in the Funes Government was investigated.
Regarding the arrests, the Salvadoran President, Nayib Bukele, has highlighted, through a publication on his Twitter profile, that former President Sánchez Cerén “is officially a fugitive from justice.” “By the way, he left our country via land border in December 2020 and never returned,” added the president.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism