Ecuador's Attorney General asked for preventive detention against Rafael Correa on the basis of questionable evidence.
Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa rejected Thursday the accusations against him based on a US$6,000 cheque which has been presented as evidence of an alleged corruption case involving private companies and the Alianza Pais party, or AP.
“I borrowed US$6,000 from the solidarity fund we had at the Presidency (which was made up of our own contributions) and I paid [my debt] to the last cent (I have the US$500 monthly cheques). Don't be ridiculous!” Correa said in a tweet where he posted pictures of the cheques.
On Aug. 7, Attorney General Diana Salazar attended the National Justice Court for a hearing on the “2012-2016 Bribes” case, where she said that Correa “ordered, approved and authorized” the use of illegal contributions from private companies, which had contracts with the Ecuadorean state, to finance AP electoral campaigns.
País:— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) August 8, 2019
El 16/mayo/2014, para cubrir sobregiro, de NUESTRO fondo voluntario (ver recibo de MIS aportes) recibí préstamo de $6.000, terminado de pagar en agosto/2015. Tengo todos los cheques y recibos
Esta es la prueba madre de “15 millones en sobornos” y “Odebrecht puso presidente” pic.twitter.com/VSfbwz88Gr
To substantiate her accusation, Salazar presented a notebook, owned by a Correa adviser, in which it is recorded that he received US$6,000. On these grounds, the country's top prosecutor requested preventive detention against the former president, who now resides in Belgium.
Correa's lawyer Fausto Jarrin said that, besides distorting information about a check deposited in Correa's banking account, the Attorney General's Office had presented ill-intentioned evidence.
"The president was the beneficiary of a credit he paid off completely," Jarrin said and asked "Out of millions of dollars from a supposed criminal organization... Correa merely has to answer for US$6,000?"
In reaction to these events, former Foreign Minister Guillaume Long stressed that accusations against Correa are part of a surrealistic, pathetic lawfare.
"They have found nothing and their despair is palpable. They make too many mistakes, shamelessly tamper with justice, and present clumsy and hasty persecution," Long said and added that "after the surrealism of an attack that surprises as it is so pathetic, we must have one certainty: the dawn is near."
Through social networks, some Ecuadorean politicians and influencers also expressed their amazement at a judicial investigation which showed a lack of professionalism.
"The mega, hyper proof of the world's largest billion-dollar corruption scheme is a US$6,000 deposit in a personal account. Diana Salazar is a mediocre prosecutor," political scientist Amauri Chamorro tweeted in an ironic tone.
"Correa has been accused of everything over the last two years. The press and opposition are so ridiculous because if he comes back and runs again, he will wipe out everyone," Diana Oña said in another tweet.