El Salvador orders arrest of ex-president Sanchez Ceren in graft probe
23 Jul 2021

El Salvador has ordered the arrest of former president Salvador Sanchez Ceren and nine top officials from a past administration as part of a money laundering and corruption probe, the Attorney General’s office said on Thursday.

The office said Sanchez Ceren was out of the country, but five former high-ranking members of former president Mauricio Funes’s government from 2009 to 2014 have been detained.

Sanchez Ceren was vice president at the time, before becoming president in the following term. His successor, President Nayib Bukele, has drawn rebukes for a string of controversial moves, including removing the attorney general and closing an anti-corruption office. read more

The Attorney General’s office said Sanchez Ceren and the other officials – including former heads of the health, finance, labor, agriculture and environment ministries – are wanted on charges of money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment after they were transferred unauthorized funds.

Sanchez Ceren could not immediately be reached for comment.

“They were favored with the payment of bonuses,” the Attorney General’s office said in a statement.

Speaking at a news conference, Attorney General Rodolfo Delgado added he would seek international help to locate Sanchez Ceren.

“We’ve issued arrest orders and later we will request a red alert for Interpol to activate its search mechanisms against Salvador Sanchez Ceren,” he said.

By Nelson Renteria, Reuters, 23 July 2021

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