"The attorney general's office, with the support from Ecuadorean police executed an arrest warrant against Xavier V., within an investigation for alleged bribery,"
On Monday, the attorney general's office announced that Ecuadorian authorities have apprehended a former energy minister as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged bribery associated with the country's state-owned oil company, Petroecuador.
In October of last year, an investigation started into the conduct of Xavier Vera, who previously held the position of Minister of Mines and Energy in Ecuador.
The investigation began due to several allegations of corruption, including the suggestion that he facilitated the acquisition of employment opportunities at Petroecuador in return for bribes.
"The attorney general's office, with the support from Ecuadorean police executed an arrest warrant against Xavier V., within an investigation for alleged bribery," the attorney general's office wrote in a message via Twitter, referring to Vera.
Miembros de la Policía Nacional detuvieron en Guayaquil a Xavier Vera, exministro de Energía y Minas de Guillermo Lasso.— Rafael Antonio (@rapha_anton) May 15, 2023
La detención se hizo en base a una orden de captura emitida por la Fiscalía General del Estado, dentro de una investigación por PRESUNTO COHECHO. pic.twitter.com/THFuzdG5w7
Vera, who had provided six months of service prior to his resignation last October, has refuted the allegations, deeming them of defamatory and intended to discredit the reputation of President Guillermo Lasso's administration.
According to the prosecutor’s tweet, they had arrested Vera with the objective of ensuring his attendance at the arraignment hearing, without disclosing additional particulars.
"The former minister has left the country more than once since these processes began. He isn't running away from the investigation, he isn't running away from the process," Vera's lawyer, Carlos Sanchez, told local television channel Ecuavisa.
As Vera’s detention comes, opposition lawmakers are advocating for the initiation of an impeachment process against Lasso for alleged embezzlement with regard to a contract at the state-owned oil transportation corporation, Flopec; this could lead to his removal from office.
Lasso refutes the allegations and asserts that his administration effected revisions and made changes to the contract signed years before he took office in order to benefit the state.