QUITO (AP) — The Ecuadorian Attorney General reported Wednesday that former President Lenín Moreno, his wife and daughter, and 33 other people were related to a transnational corruption network. Therefore, she asked the Court of Justice to hold a hearing on the formulation of charges against him for alleged bribery.
Prosecutor Diana Salazar assured in a message broadcast through official channels and networks that the investigation of more than two years into the Coca Codo Sinclaire hydroelectric project “reveals a structure of corruption” by which the Chinese company Sinohydro, in charge of the construction, delivered some 76 million dollars “in kickbacks (bribes) … channeled through third parties” through a “false image of consulting and representation services.”
The illegal actions would have occurred between 2009 and 2018 when Moreno held the position of vice president in the government of Rafael Correa. Criminal assistance from Panama, Belize, Switzerland, the United States, China, and Spain was decisive because “they help to reliably demonstrate the configuration of the crime and its scope outside the national territory,” Salazar asserted.
The head of the State Prosecutor’s Office asked the judicial body to set the date and time for the hearing in which it will file charges against the former president and his family environment, which includes his two brothers and sisters-in-law, as well as former state officials and two former Chinese ambassadors. In Ecuador, who at the time legally represented the company? In total, there are 37 linked people.
The alleged bribery represents 4% of the value of the work initially contracted for 1,979 million dollars but ended at 2,245 million, detailed the prosecutor. The investigation was opened in March 2019.
Moreno ruled between 2017 and 2021 and came to power sponsored by the then movement of his predecessor, Correa, after which they became opponents. At the end of his term, he settled in the United States. Since 2022 he has been in Paraguay, where he carries out efforts related to the inclusion of sectors of the population with disabilities.
In October 2022, a group of legislators from the Oversight Commission of the Ecuadorian Assembly presented a report on the case to the Prosecutor’s Office, Comptroller’s Office, and other control entities requesting that criminal proceedings be initiated against those responsible for the negotiation, adjudication, and hydroelectric construction.