Ecuadorian VP barred from leaving country as Odebrecht corruption probe unfolds

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-30 12:52:03|Editor: Yang Yi
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QUITO, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas was barred from leaving the country on Monday, amid an ongoing graft investigation.

Glas is accused of having accepted bribes or kickbacks from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, in exchange for granting the company lucrative public works contracts.

The travel ban was requested by Prosecutor Carlos Baca, who told a court hearing "there are eight grounds for linking Vice President Jorge Glas to the process of criminal association."

The case against Glas rests in part on the release of an Odebrecht tape recording in which his name is mentioned.

According to the former head of Odebrecht in Ecuador, Jose Conceicao Filho, the multinational company paid Glas more than 14 million U.S. dollars from 2012 to 2016.

On Friday, the legislature agreed to strip Glas of the immunity afforded by his office, so he could face trial, as Glas himself requested.

According to Glas, who was also vice president under former President Rafael Correa, a trial will give him the opportunity to clear his name.

The travel ban is also extended to four others suspected of corruption in the case. Another four suspects were given house arrest or ordered to wear a tracking device, due to their advanced age. All are former officials.

One of the suspects is former state comptroller Carlos Polit, who has gone into hiding. Authorities have issued a warrant for his arrest both at home and through Interpol.

Another suspect is Glas' uncle, Ricardo Rivera, who was arrested in June.

Odebrecht executives have been cooperating with the authorities as part of plea bargain deals.

The company has admitted to systematically bribing officials to undermine bidding procedures and win government contracts, which were then inflated to siphon off public funds.