Former Salvadoran president sentenced to return USD6 million donated by Taiwan

A court in El Salvador on Wednesday sentenced the imprisoned former president Elías Antonio Saca (2004-2009) to return 6 million dollars diverted from funds donated to the country by Taiwan.

Along with Saca, the Second Investigating Court of San Salvador sentenced the former president’s collaborators, Gerardo Balzaretti and Juan Tennant Wright, to return two million dollars each to the State, indicated the Attorney General’s Office.

The Prosecutor’s Office charged Saca and his collaborators in 2019.

"They caused damage to the State of El Salvador since (…) that money was destined for social works"One of the prosecutors in charge of the case said in a video provided by the Prosecutor’s Office, who remained anonymous.

Saca and his two collaborators are accused of diverting 10 million dollars that Taiwan granted to El Salvador between October 2003 and April 2004 to carry out four projects that were not entered or registered, said the Prosecutor’s Office.

The Prosecutor’s Office asked the Second Investigating Court in August that former President Saca and his two collaborators be exonerated of the crime of money laundering by prescription.

However, the investigating body asked that same court to continue the civil trial to recover the funds donated by Taiwan.

In relation to the millionaire donation from Taiwan, in July the Prosecutor’s Office carried out a series of embargoes against the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party, which used part of the money.

Since 2018, he has been purging a ten-year prison sentence for money laundering and other acts of corruption for 301 million dollars during his tenure.

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