RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – El Salvador’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) filed corruption charges Sunday against former President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (2014-2019) and nine other former officials before a court for allegedly receiving irregular payments in the administration of Mauricio Funes (2009-2014).
“All of these people are being charged with the crimes of illicit enrichment and money laundering,” a representative of the FGR said.
The FGR pointed out that it has been “determined that these people committed the illicit acts when they held their positions” by receiving cash “outside the law”.
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According to the prosecution’s accusation, Sánchez Cerén allegedly received US$530,000 when he was Funes’ vice-president.
The whereabouts of Sánchez Cerén, also a former guerrilla commander of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), who reportedly left the country at the end of 2020, are currently unknown.
On July 22, Sánchez Cerén became the fourth former president of El Salvador’s democratic era to be summoned by the Attorney General’s Office on corruption charges.
The Prosecutor’s Office asked the court to issue an international arrest warrant for Sánchez Cerén and four other people outside the country.
They are José López Juárez, former president of the Executive Port Commission (CEPA) and the former private secretary of the Presidency Manuel Melgar, as well as the former ministers of Public Works and Environment, Gerson Martínez and Lina Pohl, respectively.
The detainees are former Finance Minister Carlos Cáceres, former Health Minister Violeta Menjívar, former Deputy Ministers Hugo Flores and Erlinda Handal, and former FMLN deputy Calixto Mejía (2014-2017).
This case stems from the investigation against Funes for allegedly embezzling US$351 million from the state budget.
Funes has lived in Nicaragua since 2016 and received in 2017 the nationality of that Central American country, whose Constitution prohibits the extradition of its citizens.