Ecuador issues arrest warrant for fugitive former minister

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-25 07:01:17|Editor: Yamei
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QUITO, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian prosecutors on Wednesday ordered the arrest of fugitive ex-Communication Minister Fernando Alvarado, who is wanted on charges of embezzlement.

They also called for Interpol to help capture Alvarado, who indicated in a videotaped message that he had fled the country.

In a video aired on YouTube Tuesday, Alvarado said he was a refugee in a country "that understands there is political persecution."

The Prosecutor General's Office said via Twitter it was freezing the ex-minister's assets and bank accounts.

Alvarado also served as spokesperson of the previous government, headed by former President Rafael Correa. Correa, who resides in Belgium, is also wanted by Ecuadorian authorities, but for his alleged role in a politically-motivated kidnapping.

Alvarado had been wearing an electronic monitoring device since August, but took it off on Saturday, the government said.

The former minister has denied any wrongdoing and pledged to "fight from abroad" against prejudiced officials who have already labelled him "corrupt" and a "thief."

"I will continue to defend myself but in freedom. I'm not going to surrender my liberty to a corrupt justice system," Alvarado said in the video.

On Wednesday, Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Valencia said the government "has not received any notifications" from any country on the whereabouts of Alvarado.

"I would be surprised if there is an application for political asylum when it is public and well known, evident to everyone, that Mr. Alvarado violated the conditions of his liberty and seemingly left the country," Valencia told television channel Teleamazonas.