(Bloomberg) – Ecuador’s Supreme Court found former President Rafael Correa guilty of bribery along with 19 other defendants.
Three judges at the National Court of Ecuador found that Correa and other senior officials received bribes from private companies to fund political campaigns from 2012 to 2016. In return, companies received government contracts, the court found.
Correa, who now lives in Belgium, has two chances to appeal. If the verdict becomes final, he will be denied lifelong office and his hopes of a political comeback will be effectively destroyed.
Correa has repeatedly denied the charges and said he was a victim of political persecution. Interpol previously refused to consent to his arrest.
Correa allied with Venezuela and Cuba during his ten-year term in which he was in arrears and expelled a U.S. ambassador. Current President Lenin Moreno was an ally of Correa, but soon separated from him after taking office in 2017.
Aside from Correa, the judges sentenced 17 of the remaining defendants, including representatives of the companies that paid the bribe, to a maximum of eight years in prison. Pamela Martinez, a former adjutant to Correas and a single judge at the Constitutional Court, and Laura Teran, an adjutant to Martinez, received reduced sentences for pleading guilty.
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