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Ex-El Salvador leader in custody

September 20, 2014

Authorities in El Salvador have taken former President Francisco Flores into custody, where he is to await trial. The former leader stands accused of embezzling millions of dollars.

El Salvadors Ex-Präsident Flores wegen Unterschlagung in U-Haft 20.9.2014
Image: Reuters

Police transferred former President Francisco Flores from house arrest to prison late Friday local time, according to authorities in El Salvador.

"It is a normal cell, with nothing special and here the president will be alone," San Salvador civil police deputy chief Howard Cotto told reporters, according to the news agency AFP.

The pre-trial detention of the former president of El Salvador follows a court order handed down earlier in the week which had overturned his house arrest.

Francisco Flores has been charged with corruption and embezzlement. Prosecutors allege that he stole $15 million (11.7 million euros) as president between 1999 and 2004, a portion which is believed to have come from aid donated by the Taiwanese government to El Salvador.

Both El Salvador's Congress and its attorney-general's office have investigated the former leader. His successor, Mauricio Funes, has also said that US officials had investigated Flores' bank accounts after detecting suspicious transfers.

Earlier in the summer, Flores fled authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest. On September 5, he turned himself over to the authorities and was subsequently confined to his home in San Salvador.

Flores has denied the charges and says he's a victim of political persecution.

kms/tj (AP, AFP, dpa)