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News > Latin America

Ecuador: Correa Testifies in PetroChina Case

  • Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa talks to Reuters, in Quito, Ecuador January 30, 2018.

    Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa talks to Reuters, in Quito, Ecuador January 30, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 February 2018

Ecuador's former president is voluntarily testifying in a corruption case involving pre-sales to a Chinese petroleum company.

Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa is testifying at the country's public prosecutor's office in Guayaquil, his hometown, regarding the PetroChina corruption case.


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He was called by the public prosecutor's office to make a “free and voluntary” declaration.

Last Wednesday, Correa declared he would attend the hearing, affirming he would always fulfill his "duty" as citizen.

“Despite all, I'll keep trusting justice,” said the former president, alluding to the incarceration of his former vice president, Jorge Glas.

Regarding the PetroChina case, he confirmed that he did sign an agreement in 2010, but that he hasn't signed anything else afterwards. “I'm being accused of oil presales in 2016, but they will have to prove that.”

In 2009, during Correa's administration, Ecuador reportedly promised future crude oil sales to PetroChina in exchange for a US$1 billion payment. Following that, 13 similar pre-sales were allegedly agreed to with PetroChina and other companies.

According to reports, Ecuador promised to sell PetroChina 763.8 million crude oil barrels until 2024 in exchange for US$9.9 billion.

The contracts were reportedly made without licitations and were marked by irregularities. The crude oil was supposed to leave Ecuador to be sent directly to refineries in China and Thailand, but it was instead delivered to intermediary companies that sold the oil at higher prices.

Initial contracts agreed on an extra payment of US$1.25 and US$1.30 per barrel, which at the end was reduced to just US$0.25.

According to plaintiffs Fernando Villavicencio and the Pichincha College of Lawyers, these irregularities cost Ecuador two dollars per barrel.

Prosecutor Fabian Salazar has been investigating the case since 2016, compiling a 3,500-page file.

Businessman Enrique Cadena Marin, a suspected middleman, and Villavicencio, have already testified in court.

The hearing was originally scheduled to be held in Quito, but was later changed to Guayaquil. “This decision violates my right to be present in the audience because I'm prohibited to leave Quito,” Villavicencio said.

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Correa was also summoned by the State Prosecutor's Office regarding the bombing of a police command center in San Lorenzo, after he said in an interview that high officers spoke to him about the case.

“Any excuse suits them to continue the persecution and harassment,” tweeted Correa after he was asked to testify regarding his interview.

Other people, like Jaime Baquerizo, were also called to testify for the PetroChina case. Baquerizo is a Oil Services & Solutions' shareholder accused of an unlawful agreement as an intermediary in the contracts. According to the prosecutor, Baquerizo received one dollar per barrel through the offshore U.S. company Easton Trading for his contract brokering.

Antonio Enrique Perez, Nilsen Arias Sandoval and Bayardo Poveda Camacho have also been called to testify for their alleged involvement in these agreements.

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