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Ecuador court orders arrest of vice president in graft probe

October 3, 2017

Vice President Jorge Glas is being investigated for allegedly taking millions in bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. He denounced the arrest orders as politically motivated.

Jorge Glas
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D.Tapia

Ecuador's Supreme Court on Monday ordered the arrest of Vice President Jorge Glas while he is investigated for his role in the Odebrecht's corruption scandal.

Judge Miguel Jurado accepted prosecutor's request for preventive detention to prevent Glas from fleeing, even though he was already barred from leaving the country.

Glas is accused of taking $16 million (13.6 million euros) in bribes from the Brazilian construction giant that paid illegal kickbacks to win public contracts. Ecuadoran lawmakers in August unanimously voted to allow the corruption probe against Glas to go ahead.

Glas has denied any wrongdoing. His uncle, Ricardo Rivera, has been arrested for his alleged participation in the scandal.

Glas said the court's ruling was part of a politicized campaign against him.

"Don't worry, you don't have to search for me, I'm where I always am," Glas said on Twitter. "I'm not going to escape. Those who are innocent never flee."

In August, President Lenin Moreno stripped Glas of all of his duties as vice president following a bitter dispute, relegating him to a mostly ceremonial role.

A board of Brazilian construction company Odebrecht
Odebrecht has admitted to paying millions in bribes in exchange for contractsImage: picture-alliance/dpa/G. Isma

Massive corruption scandal

The Odebrecht corruption scandal has engulfed a number of politicians throughout Latin America. They have been charged or are under investigation for allegedly taking bribes or illegal campaign contributions from the construction company.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying $33.5 million in bribes to Ecuadorean officials for public contracts.

The company has already paid $3.5 billion in settlements in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland.

ap/gsw (Reuters, AP, AFP)

The Odebrecht standstill