El Salvador's former president gets 6 more years of prison time while seeking sanctuary in Nicaragua
The former president deducted around $85,000 from his income between January and December 2014 through "cash deposits, credit cards, purchase of vehicles, weapons, and maintenance services for these"
July 6, 2023 7:51am
Updated: July 6, 2023 7:51am
Former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes on Monday was sentenced in abstentia to an additional six years in jail after being charged with tax evasion, according to a court ruling published on Wednesday.
According to the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR), the former president deducted around $85,000 from his income between January and December 2014 through "cash deposits, credit cards, purchase of vehicles, weapons, and maintenance services for these." In doing so he declared to have only earned $76,000 instead of the $271,000 he made. The Third Sentencing Court of San Salvador ordered Funes to pay $200,449 as "civil liability.”
"There is abundant documentation provided by the Ministry of Finance of the acts carried out by Mr. Mauricio Funes with private companies through which he obtained an unjustified income and expenses on which he did not justify the origin of the resources," claimed the prosecutor.
"The Attorney General's Office is satisfied with this ruling," said the representative of the Public Prosecutor's Office.
Funes’ defense lawyer, who did not identify herself, said that they will evaluate whether to appeal the conviction.
This is the second jail sentence handed to the former president, who held office from 2009 to 2014. In late May, Funes was sentenced to eight years in prison for negotiating with gangs and criminal groups during his presidency and to another six years for failing to perform his duties.
"Those engaged in backroom deals at the expense of the blood of Salvadorans have been sentenced to pay in prison for the damage caused to society," Justice Minister Gustavo Villatoro said at the time of the ruling.
Despite the rulings, Funes will most likely never serve any prison time.
The former president sought sanctuary in Nicaragua in 2016 and became a citizen of the Central American country in 2019.
The trial against Funes began in April after The Central American country changed its laws to allow trials in absentia. However, Nicaragua does not allow for the extradition of its citizens.