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Judge orders preventive detention of five former FMLN officials

Judge orders preventive detention of five former FMLN officials

Those accused of the offenses of illicit enrichment and money laundering during the administration of Mauricio Funes Cartagena (2009-2014) were sent to the Women’s Prison and La Speranza Prison.

San Salvador II Magistrate today ordered that five former FMLN officials remain in prison while judicial proceedings against them reach the investigative stage.

Those arrested are Violetta Menjivar, Carlos Caceres, Erlinda Handal, Calixto Mejia and Hugo Flores Hidalgo, all of whom are former officials under former President Mauricio Funes (2009-2014).

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The defendants are accused of committing the crimes of illicit enrichment and money laundering during the administration of Mauricio Funes Cartagena (2009-2014). They were arrested on the twenty-second of this month during the “embezzlement operation”. Investigations began in 2019.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Violetta Menjevar received $177,000; Carlos Caceres $210,000; Calixto Mejia 208 thousand dollars; Hugo Flores 174 thousand dollars; Erlinda Hándal 162 thousand dollars; All money was given out as rewards.

In addition, it turned out that apart from bonuses, there was an annual bonus and those who retired from their duties are allowed to receive financial compensation as a retirement bonus.

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From the moment of the arrests, FMLN leaders questioned the actions of the police authorities and the Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the arrests of former officials of their party. They described them as arbitrary acts and said that the detainees are political prisoners of Najib Bukila’s government, demanding their immediate release.

On Wednesday, the Public Prosecutor’s Office reported that the magistrate’s judge also ordered the international search and arrest of former President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (2014-2019) and four other former officials with the assistance of Interpol on corruption charges.

Marisela Velasquez, Head of the Anti-Money Laundering Unit, noted that the decision was made by the San Salvador II Magistrate, the court that sent the process to the investigation stage of the charges of illicit enrichment and money laundering against Sanchez Serene. and nine other former officials.

He told reporters that “the judge decided to release Interpol, with the effect of locating them and making them available to the competent courts.”

According to the attorney general’s office, Sanchez Ceren earned $530,000 in irregular bonuses when he was vice president (2009-2014) and the country was ruled by Mauricio Funes.

The whereabouts of Sanchez Serene, also a former FMLN guerrilla leader, who was to leave the country at the end of 2020 for Nicaragua, is currently unknown, according to security authorities.

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Other former officials with an international arrest warrant are Jose López Juárez, former President of the Port Executive Committee (CEPA) and former Special Secretary to the Presidency Manuel Melgar, as well as former Ministers of Public Works and Environment, Gerson Martinez and Lena Pohl, respectively.