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El Salvador Corruption Probe Targets Two Ex-Presidents

LADB Article ID: 79959
Category/Department: El Salvador
Date: 2016-04-28
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

El Salvador’s highest court, the Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ), has made itself a sudden protagonist in the fight against public sector corruption, delving into the personal finances of numerous top officials, both past and present, and launching civil cases against a pair of former presidents, Elías Antonio Saca (2004-2009) and Mauricio Funes (2009-2014). The ex-leaders, one a successful businessman who represented the hard-right Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) until he was booted from the party shortly after leaving office, the other a former television journalist allied with the governing Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), are both suspected of illicit enrichment during their presidencies. The dollar amounts involved in the two cases differ. A probe of Saca’s records revealed unverified earnings of approximately US$4.5 million. Funes is accused of failing to account for some US$600,000 in payments, income and assets. The CSJ’s pursuit of the two ex-presidents coalesced just weeks after another former head of state, Francisco Flores (1999-2004), died on Jan. 30, several days after suffering a major stroke and while awaiting trial on graft and embezzlement charges.

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