Two wise witnesses support the investigation against former FMLN officials
Although the initial hearing was scheduled to begin at 8:00 yesterday morning, it was established several hours later. Ahead of the hearing, advocates said the investigation had no legal basis; The Public Prosecutor’s Office said it relied on documents, expert opinions and testimonies of two individuals with criminal interest.
The confession of two witnesses (with criminal merits) supports criminal proceedings against ten former FMLN officials indicted by the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) with the crimes of money laundering and illicit enrichment.
That was one of the first incidents known yesterday at the start of the preliminary hearing against members of the public, Salvador Sánchez Ceren, former Vice President and President of the Republic; Calixto Mejia, former Deputy Minister of Labor; Violeta Menjevar, former Deputy Minister of Health; Carlos Enrique Caceres, former Minister of Finance; Hugo Flores, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture; Erlinda Handal, former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology; Lena Paul, former deputy environment minister; Gerson Martinez, former Minister of Public Works; Hugo Flores, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock; and Manuel Melgar, former Minister of Public Security.
In order to protect the identity of the criteria, the Prosecutor’s Office requested that the operation be partially booked, that is, the identity of the witnesses tested could not be known.
“There are two cautious witnesses who were in the Funes case as well. Jose Emilio Gonzalez, one of the defenders for the former Deputy Minister of Health, said.
The first hearing was held in the Justice of the Peace of San Salvador II, in a courtroom of the Second Class Integrated Judicial Center. Until this memo concludes, at 9:00 pm, the hearing was held, although one of the plaintiffs asserted that the judge declared that the arguments made by the advocates before the hearing were not relevant.
All defendants performed such tasks during the presidency of Mauricio Funes, a Salvadoran fugitive accused of embezzling $351 million.
The attorney general’s office said the 10 former officials are accused of illegally receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in rewards, money that came from the so-called secret party.
However, lawyers for some of the accused criticized the investigation and described it as hasty, especially in classifying money laundering crimes.
They demanded the elimination of the crime of money laundering
For some of the defenders of the 10 defendants, the crime of money laundering was not caught, because the money they supposedly received did not pass to other hands to commit illegal acts.
Specifically, Gilberto Kanjura, attorney for Erlinda Handel and Violeta Menjivar, stated that “there were no prior procedures in the Integrity Department, because all the procedures for illicit enrichment are followed there. It is the full court that decides to testify to the Office of the Prosecutor that she has found unjust enrichment Draft in one of the officials; the attorney general’s office did none of that, but skipped the whole procedure and came to address it right here.He confirmed before the start of the initial hearing.
Kanjura continued: “An absolute nullity has been proposed, (it is completely illegal) … In other cases such as Sánchez Cerén and Calixto Mejía, they have already obtained a settlement from the Integrity Department, they should never have followed, it is said that they (the plaintiffs) did not appear there What do they want? Capture and display? No, it is not.”
However, the prosecutor’s office disputed these allegations.
“In this case, the Public Prosecutor’s Office conducted a thorough investigation of both the accused persons and the crimes attributed to them are supported in the judicial file. “Integrity information is also part of the judicial file,” said one of the prosecutors in the case.
“The Prosecutor’s Office has sufficient evidence that will be shared with the judge at this hearing. There is evidence of a documentary, expert and testimonial nature. Above all, the documentary evidence and expert analysis have been well strengthened,” said the Prosecutor in the case.
“There are eyewitnesses, but the strength of the public prosecutor’s office in this case is the documentary evidence and the documentary evidence,” he added.
“The defendants are accused of receiving certain amounts of money while in office in different wallets of the state. So they disagree because not all the people were there for the 60 months that the presidential term lasted. Some of them were for the entire period, others only for a few months, so the attorney general’s office said The amount varies for each of them.
In this case, the Public Prosecution confirmed that it had requested that the accused be referred to pretrial detention.
According to the prosecution, the sums of money that the five defendants present in rewards received were as follows: Carlos Caceres, $210,000; Calixto Mejia, $208,000; Violetta Menjivar $177,000; Hugo Flores $174,000 and Ireland Handal Vega $162,000.
As for the five accused who have not been arrested, the amounts received are: Salvador Sanchez Serene, 530 thousand dollars; Gerson Martinez, $290,000; Guillermo López Suárez $565,000; Lena Paul $177,000. As for Manuel Melgar, the authorities have not revealed how much he got.
Regarding those who were not arrested, the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested the activation of all search mechanisms, including the red broadcast.
The five accused former officials who are still present in the operation were arrested between noon and the night of last Thursday, July 22, at their homes.
Hours later, they were presented in handcuffs to the Investigations Directorate of the National Civil Police, at a press conference, imposed by the ruling party, headed by Rodolfo Delgado, the public prosecutor; Gustavo Villatoro, Minister of Justice and Security; and Mauricio Arreaza Chicas, Director of the Police Authority, who confirmed that the five had been arrested for corruption and were therefore not political prisoners, and that this was not political persecution.