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Costa Rica extradites to El Salvador father-in-law of former president Mauricio Funes

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Costa Rican authorities extradited Juan Guzmán, father-in-law of former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes (2009-2014), to El Salvador on Wednesday to face criminal proceedings for money laundering.

“Today we bring to justice the father-in-law of Mauricio Funes, the former president who was at the forefront of #SaqueoPúblico” (public looting) to state coffers during his administration, the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) published on its Twitter account.

Juan Guzmán, father-in-law of former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes (2009-2014)
Juan Guzmán, father-in-law of former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes (2009-2014). (Photo internet reproduction)

According to the Public Ministry’s accusation, Guzmán is part of the structure that helped Funes launder part of the US$351 million that the former head of state allegedly embezzled during his term in office.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office brought the case against Funes, Guzmán, and another group of individuals to court in 2018, when Douglas Meléndez headed the entity.

The Costa Rican government notified El Salvador last February 17 about the approval of Guzmán’s extradition after processing the request.

“He is alleging what he thinks is convenient and is making use of his rights that the law gives him, but the important thing is that the Costa Rican government has accepted the extradition request,” said then-Attorney General Raúl Melara in November 2019.

The accused is the father of Ada Michell Guzmán Sigüenza, who is Funes’ spouse and is in Nicaragua, the country that granted them nationality along with the former president and three of his children.

Funes, who came to power under the banner of “change” of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) in the face of corruption in previous administrations, is the third Salvadoran president since the country entered democratic life to be accused of taking public money.

The former head of state is also on trial for allegedly paying bribes to former Attorney General Luis Martínez to avoid investigations, embezzling funds from constructing a dam, disclosing a secret U.S. government document, and evading taxes.

Corruption cases involving former Salvadoran presidents total more than US$666 million allegedly embezzled from public funds.

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