The former president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, has been officially indicted for the alleged crime of bribery, related to a bribery structure to favour a Chinese company in the construction of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric power plant. The judge ordered as a precautionary measure that he must appear every 15 days in a special room of the court, despite the fact that Moreno has not lived in Ecuador since 2021. In addition to Moreno, his wife, daughter, brothers, and sisters-in-law have also been linked to the process and have been ordered to appear every eight days in court, are prohibited from leaving the country, and use a surveillance device as preventive measures. In the process, have also been linked 30 other people, as indicated by the Prosecutor’s Office, as having participated in the bribery structure, among them the former Chinese ambassador Cai Runguo and Wu Yu, representative of the company Sinohydro in Ecuador. Wu Yu was the only one for whom the judge ordered preventive detention, while the other defendants must appear before the same institution every eight days.
The Chinese company Sinohydro won the bidding contest to build the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric power plant, one of the last mega-projects of the government of Rafael Correa. The amount of the alleged bribery crime is US$76 million, corresponding to 4% of the initial value contracted for the work. During the indictment hearing, the prosecutor stated that the presidential family would have received $665,000 in bribes. The company that transferred this money was INA Investment, created by Edwin Moreno, the brother of the former president. INA also transferred $19,432 to a furniture company in Switzerland, which ended up in Lenin Moreno’s apartment in Switzerland when he was the UN representative on disability and accessibility issues in 2013.
Former president Rafael Correa has also been summoned to give his voluntary version on the Sinohydro case on March 8, which will take place through a virtual room at 9.00 since he is out of the country. Moreno was Correa’s vice president between 2007 and 2013 and became president sponsored by Correa’s party, governing between 2017 and 2021. At the end of his presidential term, he notified the National Assembly of his departure to the United States for a period of three months, but to date he has not returned.
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